Phoenix, AZ Helicopter Collision, Jul 2007
4 DIE IN HELICOPTER COLLISION.
Phoenix - Two news helicopters covering a police chase on live television collided and crashed to the ground Friday, killing all four people on board in a plunge that viewers saw as a jumble of spinning, broken images.
Both helicopters went down in a park in central Phoenix and caught fire. No one on the ground was hurt.
TV viewers did not actually witness the accident, because cameras aboard both aircraft were pointed at the ground. But they saw video from one of the helicopters break up and begin to spin before the station abruptly switched to the studio.
Television station KNXV reported that it operated one of the choppers. The other was from KTVK. A pilot and photographer aboard each chopper were killed.
KNXV reported CRAIG SMITH, who was among the dead, was reporting live, as police chased a man driving a construction truck who had fled a traffic stop.
The man was driving erratically, hitting several cars and driving on the sidewalk at times.
Police had blown the truck's tires, and the man eventually parked it, then carjacked another vehicle nearby.
Just before the picture broke up, SMITH said, "Oh geez!"
The station then switched to the studio and briefly showed regular programming, a soap opera, before announcing that the helicopter had crashed.
The man fleeing from police was taken into custody by a SWAT team after barricading himself inside a house, police said.
Police Chief Jack Harris suggested he could be charged in connection with the collision.
"I believe you will want to talk to investigators, but I think he will be held responsible for any of the deaths from this tragedy," Harris told reporters at the scene. He did not elaborate.
National Transportation Safety Board investigators were on the scene Friday, and more were on their way from out of state, Phoenix police spokesman Sgt. Joel Tranter said.
The Republic Columbus Indiana 2007-07-28
The Fatalities Were:
CRAIG D. SMITH.
RICHARD LEE KROLAK.
SCOTT MADISON BOWERBANK.
JAMES ALAN COX.