Feds release new report on deadly KOMO chopper crash

SEATTLE - Federal investigators have released their latest report on last year's deadly Air 4 helicopter crash outside KOMO studios - laying out the facts for the first time but still coming to no official conclusion about the cause.

The seven-page National Transportation Safety Board report was released overnight, spelling out the who, what, when and where of the crash - but not the "why." That is expected to be released in a few weeks when the full report comes out.

The fiery March 2014 crash on Broad Street about 50 feet from the base of the Space Needle killed chopper pilot Gary Pfitzner and news photographer Bill Strothman.

A man who happened to be driving by - Richard Newman, 38, of Seattle - suffered burns over 20 percent of his body when his car was struck in the crash.

The new NTSB report on the crash contains information from security cameras and eyewitness accounts.

It says the Airbus chopper landed on the Fisher Plaza helipad, then 15 minutes later attempted to take off again. At that time, the nose pointed straight up and the chopper spun out of control. It plummeted five stories, crashed on Broad Street and burst into flames.

Former NTSB investigator Keith McGuire knows the crash has raised so many questions.

"They're going to be looking at pilot actions, they're going to be looking at weather, they're going to be looking at mechanical conditions, they're going to be looking at system safety," he said.

The report says the chopper - on lease to KOMO and KING-TV from Helicopters Inc. of Illinois - was well-maintained. The pilot was highly experienced and healthy. The weather was good.

But until the final report is issued the cause of the fatal crash will remain a mystery.


Read the NTSB report here >>

List of documents released by NTSB related to the investigation.