NTSB: No mechanical problems found in KOMO helicopter crash

The National Transportation Safety Board has released the narrative of its findings in the March 18, 2014, crash of a KOMO-TV helicopter in which both people onboard were killed and a driver on the ground in Seattle was gravely hurt.

According to the report, “No evidence could be found of mechanical anomalies with the engine that would have precluded normal operation.”

The report was based on witness statements, reviews of three security-camera recordings, inspection of the crash debris and a review of pilot records, among other items.

The crash, which occurred near Fourth Avenue and Broad Street, killed pilot Gary Pfitzner, 59; and photojournalist Bill Strothman, 62, and critically injured the driver of a car struck by the chopper.

The helicopter’s main structural components were found in the immediate area, according to the report. Debris was found within a 340-foot radius of the main wreckage.

Investigators looked into weather conditions, the helicopter’s components and maintenance records, and what the pilot was doing in the hours before the crash.

According to the board’s preliminary report, surveillance footage of the crash was consistent with reports given by many witnesses.

They said they saw the helicopter lift off from the KOMO helipad, then pitch forward before falling into an occupied vehicle.

Before the crash, the preliminary report stated, the helicopter lifted off the helipad and seemed to be level. It then began to rotate and made a full rotation before its nose pitched forward.

The helicopter continued to rotate as it fell and dropped out of the view of the cameras, according to the report.