News Chopper Crashes Near Seattle Space Needle, 2 Dead

A news helicopter crashed near Seattle’s iconic Space Needle Tuesday morning leaving at least two dead and one hurt.

The chopper crashed into three cars along Broad Street near Fisher Plaza in the city's center shortly before 7:55 a.m. Pacific time, leaving a fiery wreck that took crews about 30 minutes to extinguish.

Seattle firefighters say at least two people died.

A 37-year-old man who was inside one of the cars was critically injured with burns over more than 50 percent of his body, according to NBC affiliate KING 5.

The chopper is operated by KOMO-TV and is used by KING 5 as part of a news-gathering partnership.

KOMO's studio -- where the chopper lands and takes off from -- is located a short distance from the crash site. The Federal Aviation Administration said that the chopper was taking off with three people on board when it tumbled to the ground about 50 meters from the Space Needle.

All that was left of the helicopter was the chassis and some of the tail, according to firefighters.

Jet fuel spilled from the crash site onto the pavement. Crews used sand to try and sop up the fuel.

The chopper is managed by Helicopters, Inc. -- a company that specializes in the design, construction and leasing of news choppers, according to KING 5.

The cause of the crash remained under investigation Tuesday morning.

None of the victims were immediately identified.

Click here for the latest on this story from NBC News.

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