Update on the City’s response to helicopter crash near Seattle Center

Last updated March 19, 11:25 a.m.

At 7:40 a.m. the morning of March 18th, Seattle Fire and Police responded to a helicopter crash near Seattle Center on Broad Street. The lives of two KOMO employees were tragically lost and a third person was seriously injured. The Mayor and his staff continue to send our thoughts and prayers to the victims’ loved ones.

SFD, SPD, and other City of Seattle staff have been working the scene throughout the day and have stabilized the area. Ongoing investigations, clean up, and some traffic impacts remain near the Seattle Center. Here are the latest updates on that work:

Updates from the Seattle Department of Transportation:

Updates from the Seattle Fire Department:

  • The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) had an investigator at the scene for several hours following the crash.
  • Clean-up of the site occurred more quickly than originally anticipated and Broad St. was open shortly after the evening commute.
  • Seattle Fire Department’s heavy rescue response included a technical rescue team with specialized equipment and training for difficult extrications.  Twenty-six fire units responded to the scene with a total of approximately 50 firefighters
  • Official Fire Department updates can be found by following their Twitter feed.

Updates from the Seattle Police Department:

  • At 7:40 AM, Seattle Fire and Police responded to 4th Avenue and Broad Street after receiving numerous reports of a helicopter crash. At the scene, firefighters began working to put out several car fires and found two deceased crash victims. The crash also damaged three vehicles along Broad street, and police officers arrived to find the occupant of one of the vehicles on fire. Officers quickly extinguished the flames on the man and medics transported him to Harborview Medical Center with critical injuries. The drivers in the two other vehicles were not seriously injured.
  • Official Seattle Police Department updates can be found on their blog and by following their Twitter feed.

Updates from the Department of Planning and Development:

Updates from the Mayor’s Office:

  • Mayor Murray held a press conference to express his condolences to all those affected by the incident, answer questions about the investigation, give updates on the investigation and clean-up of the site, and answer reporters questions about helipad use within the city.
  • A team made up of representatives from SFD, SPD, SPU, SDOT, DPD, Law, DoIT, Seattle Center, OIR and Emergency Operations will meet daily at 8am until situation returns to normal.

Updates from Seattle Public Utilities:

  • Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) has contracted with NRC Environmental Services to aid in the cleanup of an approximate 100-gallon spill of aviation fuel and an additional 800-1000 gallons of contaminated water from emergency firefighting activities. There are six combined sewer drains that were affected by the spill, all of which need to be properly cleaned. In addition to the contaminated drains, there is approximately 10 yards of contaminated sand that the Seattle Fire Department used to contain fuel runoff shortly after the accident. All of the contaminated materials will be treated at a local fuel recovery plant. Waste profiles have been generated to insure proper disposal.
  • As with any spill, safety is the number one concern. SPU and their contractor have been conducting continuous air monitoring to insure that explosive or flammable conditions don’t occur in the cleanup area.

Updates beyond City government:

  • The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will issue a preliminary report on the crash within five days — a final report can take up to a year.
  • Metro bus service is now operating normally. Please keep an eye on King County Metro’s Alerts & Updates page for any other service disruptions.
  • The Seattle Monorail remained closed throughout the day out of respect for the victims and the crews handling the investigation. They are now back in service.
  • The Space Needle, Experience Music Project, and Chihuly Garden and Glass also remained closed throughout the day and they are now back open as of March 19th.