A former KOMO-TV Seattle news photographer and the pilot were killed when the station’s news helicopter crashed during the morning commute. One driver of a car was burned and is in critical condition following the fiery crash, which occurred near the Space Needle and billowed heavy smoke into the city, the ABC affiliate reported. Two other cars were struck but passengers escaped without injury. The two victims were a former longtime KOMO News photographer, Bill Strothman, and pilot Gary Pfitzner. Strothman’s son Dan is a KOMO News photojournalist. Station employees could see the crash site from their offices and then had to report the news that two of their own had died. “We mourn the loss of a couple of our co-workers today,” KOMO-TV anchor Dan Lewis said on the air. “It’s so difficult for us to look at this scene, of the wreckage down there.” The FAA told the station that the helicopter — a Eurocopter AS350 and not the station’s normal helicopter but a replacement while its regular chopper undergoes upgrades — was taking off from a helipad when it went down. The NTSB is investigating.