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Friday, July 27, 2007

TV Copters Collide Over Phoenix; Four Dead

Two television news helicopters collided in midair and crashed today while covering a police pursuit in Phoenix. The pilots and cameramen on both aircraft were killed. According to the FAA, there were five TV helicopters following a Phoenix Police Dept. helicopter and ground units pursuing a driver in a truck. A preliminary review of air traffic control tapes indicated all helicopters had followed procedures spelled out in a local letter of agreement, contacting ATC for clearance into the chase area and communicating with each other on the local helicopter frequency. The accident aircraft were both Eurocopter AS350s, one from TV station KNXV, the other from KTVK. They collided at 1247 local time (2047 UTC), crashed to the ground within about 100 yards of each other in a central Phoenix park, and burned. The KTVK pilot was Scott Bowerbank; the cameraman  Jim Cox. The KNVX crew was pilot Craig Smith and cameraman Rick Krolak.
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