Helicopter Crash in Phoenix... WTF?

thedguy

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cnn said:
A police chase through the streets of downtown Phoenix turned into a midair tragedy Friday afternoon when two television news helicopters covering the action collided and crashed to the ground in smoke and flame, killing all four people on board.

KTVK-TV said photojournalist Jim Cox and pilot Scott Bowerback were killed. KNXV-TV identified its crew as photographer Rick Krolak and pilot Craig Smith.

The helicopters collided as the rival stations were covering the police pursuit of a stolen white truck towing a trailer. Assistant Chief Mark Angle of the Phoenix Fire Department said wreckage from both helicopters then landed in a downtown park.

Aerial footage from another station covering the chase, KPNX-TV, showed large plumes of black smoke and flames coming from the wreckage. Video Watch smoke and flames pour from debris ?

"I was driving and heard a bang," one unnamed witness told KPHO.

"I was standing out on Central Avenue and I was looking over to the park and saw the helicopters get close," Jerry Fender told KPHO. "The blue one split and went down. The red or orange one went right after it."

"Looked something like 9/11 with debris exploding everywhere," said witness Brian Kenneth, the station reported.

Rick Gotchie, a Phoenix air-conditioning contractor working at a nearby building, was watching the helicopters circling the scene and noticed they were getting closer to each other, The Associated Press reported.

"I kept saying go lower, go lower, but he didn't," Gotchie said.

Angle said the "silver lining" in the accident was that the choppers did not hit any structures on the ground. The site of the crash was near a Veterans Affairs hospital and several high-rise buildings, he said.

"We do not believe at this time that anyone on the ground was struck," Angle said.

The National Transportation Safety Board announced it will send a team to Phoenix to investigate the crash.
Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor told The Associated Press that the agency is reviewing air traffic control tapes to see if the helicopters' pilots were communicating before the crash.

"Typically air traffic controllers clear helicopters into an area where they can cover a chase like this," Gregor told AP. "Once they are in the area, the pilots themselves are responsible for keeping themselves separated from other aircraft."

Phoenix Police Chief Jack Harris said the chase began when police received a report of a stolen vehicle and began pursuing a suspect, who eventually abandoned that vehicle and stole the white truck that was being chased at the time of the chopper collision.

The suspect later bailed out of that vehicle and barricaded himself in a house, where he was captured by SWAT officers who stormed the residence, police said.

Phoenix police Sgt. Joel Tranter said the man was treated at a hospital for several dog bites before being booked into jail.

The police chief said the suspect will likely face criminal charges for the deaths in the helicopter crash.

"I think he will be held responsible for any of the deaths from this tragedy," Harris said.

The park would remain closed indefinitely while investigators worked, Tranter said.

Why are two certified pilots who crashed into each other not being held responsible for their own accident?
 

godlikepagan

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This happened about a 5 minute walk from my house :(. It is shocking because i had just looked outside because there were a ton of choppers flying around. It happened like 5 minutes after I had looked outside. I had just seen them on the news this morning for traffic reports :(. I am kinda happy i didn't see it happen.
 

fbc

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the suspect will likely face criminal charges for the deaths in the helicopter crash.

Yeah, I really can't get my head around that either. If it was Police officers hurt chasing him I could understand it, but people following him of their own free will?
 

Viper007Bond

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The pilots were live on the air reporting. Bad idea if you ask me.

I like how they do it here -- 3 guys in the helicopter: a pilot, a reporter, and a cameraman in the back.
 

chaos386

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Does anyone else find watching the video a bit...odd? I mean, you're watching the wreckage of two news helicopters, from a news helicopter.

Oh, and if they're going to blame the suspect for this, they might as well sue whoever made the pilots' alarm clocks as well. If they hadn't woken them up that morning, they'd all be alive! :roll:
 

TC

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Yeah, this has been on the air all day. Helicopters are tricky aircraft. The news stations all send their copters in to cover the chase. The two helicopters got too close, they said one was hovering over the other, and they got sucked into eachother. It's not like riding a bike or driving a car.
 

watto

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That's completely absurd that the driver be held responsible for their deaths. It's not his fault that they crashed into each other, they should have known where the other helicopter was!
 

godlikepagan

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The pilots were live on the air reporting. Bad idea if you ask me.

I like how they do it here -- 3 guys in the helicopter: a pilot, a reporter, and a cameraman in the back.

That would be a lot safer, but it is not like this has happened before. This may change the way the FAA lets news choppers work now. My guess force the pilot to be full time like you say.
 

TC

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That's completely absurd that the driver be held responsible for their deaths. It's not his fault that they crashed into each other, they should have known where the other helicopter was!
No charges have been filed yet, and the driver certainly hasn't been convicted of anything, and even if he is, they can't exactly convict him of premeditated man slaughter or anything. Besides, the man is a criminal, screw him.
 

thedguy

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No charges have been filed yet, and the driver certainly hasn't been convicted of anything, and even if he is, they can't exactly convict him of premeditated man slaughter or anything. Besides, the man is a criminal, screw him.

The problem I see is it could set some kind of precedent.
 

TC

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The problem I see is it could set some kind of precedent.

One less reason to run from the police; Don't know who will die as a result.

I can think of worse legal precedents.
 

chaos386

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No charges have been filed yet, and the driver certainly hasn't been convicted of anything, and even if he is, they can't exactly convict him of premeditated man slaughter or anything. Besides, the man is a criminal, screw him.

Fortunately, the decision is not yours to make. All you know about him so far is that he ran from police and stole a truck, yet you're so sure that he is worthless as a human being?
 

teeb

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Does anyone else find watching the video a bit...odd? I mean, you're watching the wreckage of two news helicopters, from a news helicopter.

It seems a bit strange that, to show two news helicopters crashing and the aftermath...they've sent a flock more news helicopters.
 

wooflepoof

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I could see how HE would feel guilty/responsible for the deaths of those people but from a legal standpoint it would be absolutely bogus to blame him for THEIR coptering skills or lack thereof. Its like if someone wanted to sue chlorox because their kid got into an open bottle of bleach.
 

TC

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So he deserves to be charged with an act he has no responsibility for? Right, good basis for a justice system you've got there.
Fortunately, the decision is not yours to make. All you know about him so far is that he ran from police and stole a truck, yet you're so sure that he is worthless as a human being?
Punish him for what he has done, and only for what he has done.
Where is my violin?

His actions lead to the disaster. I'm not saying he intended for it to happen, or that other mistakes weren't made, but most accidents rarely happen that way. The man ran from the police, hitting parked cars, loosing control. Ditched his car, car jacked someone else, and fled to a friend of his son's house, where he broke in and barricaded himself. Luckily no one was home, so he had no hostages. If you want me to feel pity for the man, you're badly deluded.

The media is supposed to cover things like this. Just like the cops are supposed to chase the suspect, rather then just letting him go. I wonder how many court cases were settled by news chopper footage. The man created a dangerous situation and as a result, 4 people died. He is responsible for the situation that he caused. That's the way it works, negligence isn't an excuse.
 

Top Geek

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This is a very dangerous precedent to set. You simple can't hold someone responsible for a distantly-related and derivative incident.

One less reason to run from the police; Don't know who will die as a result.
As if a criminal cares?
 

TC

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The US legal system is screwed up. Criminals have gotten hurt while doing a home invasion and sued the home owners and won. Great, a legal precedent to reward criminals for their crimes. I think that is a slightly more dangerous legal precedent then the possibility of being held accountable for deaths caused as a result of your willful actions.
 

zenkidori

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The deaths WERE NOT a result of his actions. The deaths were the result of news copters competing to get the best shot to land on the news that night, plain and simple. the suspect didn't force the copters too closely, he didn't force them to enter into a dangerous chase, he has no responsibility at all.

are you going to charge celebrities if a paparazzi crashes while chasing and trying to photograph someone? same shit. It's the news stations own greed and competitiveness that caused this, they all wanted that great shot and while jockeying for position a terrible accident occurred, that's all. the man running from the police has much to answer for, but the crash shouldn't be part of that.
 
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