BOSTON (CBS) — WBZ-TV has learned the helicopter that crashed in Seattle Tuesday was used in Boston as recently as last year.
The Federal Aviation Administration confirmed to WBZ-TV the tail number on the helicopter involved in the crash matches the one that was used as a shared helicopter by both WBZ-TV and WFXT.
Two people were killed and one was critically injured when the Seattle KOMO-TV News helicopter crashed and burst into flames Tuesday, just yards from the Space Needle.
The chopper was taking off from the KOMO-TV station when it went down and hit three vehicles, setting them on fire and spewing burning fuel down the street, according to CBS Seattle.
KING-TV identified KOMO photographer Bill Strothman as one of the deceased.
The helicopter was used in Boston for 10 years before it was flown to Detroit, the day after Thanksgiving, where it was supposed to be used as backup.
The helicopter, a Eurocopter AS350, was being used while the Seattle station’s regular helicopter was in the shop, according to CBS Seattle.
There’s no word yet on what caused the crash.
While the helicopter was in Boston, its primary pilot was Kurt Kendrick, who estimates he logged about 2500 hours flying the aircraft.
“While it was here,” Kendrick says, “from what I can remember when I was flying it, it was always well maintained.”
“You hate to see something like that happen and two people lose their lives, and another person was injured on the ground,” he says. “That’s a pilot’s worst nightmare, is that if something does go wrong that you don’t hurt anybody on the ground when you get the aircraft down there. It’s sad. You hate to hear something like that happen.”
Many other pilots flew this aircraft over southern New England. WBZ spoke to several of them, and they all said this was one of their favorite helicopters to fly.
“It’s a love affair with the aircraft you fly,” Kendrick explained. “She was a great helicopter. She took care of us so we took care of her. She was a great aircraft.”
WBZ-TV’s Jim Armstrong contributed to this report.
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