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(WSDOT Photo)

A Washington television station's helicopter crashed near the Space Needle in Seattle on Tuesday morning, killing both people on board.

KOMO-TV confirmed its news chopper went down and that there were casualties in the helicopter and on the ground, where the chopper fell on three cars and exploded around 7:40 a.m.

The helicopter was taking off from the station's rooftop and hit the side of the building. The station is across the street from the Northwest landmark Space Needle.

The two killed have been identified as pilot Gary Pfitzner and Bill Strothman, who used to work as a photographer for the station.

Seattle Fire reported transporting a 37-year-old man to a hospital in critical condition. The man pulled himself from one of the cars.

Employees in the newsroom said they heard the chopper hit the building then saw it crash and burst into flames.,

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