Two News Helicopters Phoenix - Mid-Air Collision


[ ]Breaking News]( Hi-speed police chase, news helicopters following chase collide mid-air, both crash.

Helicopters from Channel 3, and Channel 15 Phoenix. 4 fatalities, 2 each helicopter, no survivors, no injuries on ground.

Associated Press Report

PHOENIX (AP) – Two television news helicopters covering a police pursuit crashed and burned in a central Phoenix park, killing at least two people.

A KTVK T-V anchor tearfully told viewers that one of the helicopters was theirs, and that the pilot and photographer aboard were killed. KNXV-TV said the other helciopter was theirs.

The helicopters collided while covering a police pursuit of a man in a construction truck.

The helicopters crashed in flames in a grassy area of Steele Indian School Park.


[ ]PHOTO ‘GRAPHIC’]( mid-air collision caught by camera. Channel 3 on left, Channel 15 on right.

[]GRAPHIC NATURE ]( live video from Channel 15 as you hear impact.

[ ]GRAPHIC NATURE]( video of impact and extreme emotions from another helicopter.


Holy crap.
I know a couple news chopper guys and most of them know the other stations’ pilots personally. It’s a pretty small community and they’re usually at the same scenes every day. Terrible what that last guy had to witness. Obviously very shaken.


Godspeed to those affected.

Kinda amazed this hasn’t happened bofore though.

Get so caught up in the action below, that we forget to see and avoid… Big sky theory will fail.



[ ]N215TV]( Channel 15 Astar - registered to US Helicopters
[ ]N613TV]( Channel 3 Astar - registered to Mac America Communications


Extremely tough deal…I was preparing for a departure at my hangar at PHX watching the chase unfold on the TV…my flying partner and I were watching it on CH 12… I walked out to the airplane to throw some extra ice in the beverage bins and was standing in the entry doorway at the top of the stairs of the airplane to watch the aerial activity. I saw the two ships converging but from my vantage point of about four miles away I couldn’t judge that they were that close until they got together and went down… I didn’t know any of them that perished, but I know a couple of the others in the Phoenix ENG community…I can only imagine how difficult it is for that group right now…

Some radio traffic between the two ships involved was aired on the news, and by the nature of the conversation, it was apparent that the pilot of TV3 had lost his situational awareness… The circumstances of it all are just very sad and unfortunate…


Althought I don’t blame him, I think the criminal involved in the chase that was being filmed, should realize the snowball effect that a crime can have, before he thinks about committing another one.

My prayers to the families and coworkers as well. And I think the press should be a little more respectful.


You should! It’s the reckless moronic actions of people like him who cause needless damage to personal property, injury to innocent people, and in this case death!

And I think the press should be a little more respectful.

This is a time, as unfortunate as it is, that the news gathering community in Phoenix has come together with the utmost respect for their colleagues. :unamused:


Azav8r, I understand where you’re coming from. I agree that if the criminal hadn’t commited his crime, the circumstances that led up to the accident would not have occurred, however, I don’t think the actual cause for the collision itself has been determined yet. I’m sure the news community in the area has come together quite closely out of respect for the loss of life. I was referring to the press elsewhere broadcasting the entire unedited video, which although is news, would be shocking to stumble across if I was a family member, that’s all.


Of course we all know that those news copters wouldn’t have been there if we didn’t all weren’t so facinated with high speed chases and watching them on TV every chance we got.

I admit to that guilty pleasure, I love COPS :blush: and Scariest Police Chases. So I’m to blame too.

reguardless RIP


The Phoenix DA, pandering to the crowd, was quoted as saying that he would press for murder or accessory charges against the driver for the crash. From my perspective, it is sadly clear that the pilots failed to “see and avoid” as we are all required to do under the regs. It is pretty clear that the NTSB report will state that the cause of the accident was the pilot’s failure to see and avoid other traffic, with possibly a contributing cause of cockpit distraction.


You cannot blame the criminal for this accident any more than you can blame a football player for an accident caused by a drunk driver going home from the game. I think it’s rediculous that they’re going try to pin the rap on the guy.

Suppose two pilots are doing spin training about a mile from an interstate highway. Two drivers on the ground notice spectacle and watch the airplane instead of the road and crash into each other and die. Are the pilots responsible for the deaths of the two drivers?


The difference being in the football and spin cases is that neither of those was anyone breaking the law at the time of, before, or after the acident
If I set a house on fire and there is a car crash, and people die, as people look at the fire I AM responsible for those peoples death. All-be-it manslaughter and not murder, I should still be charges with something.

Yes the helicopter pilots did not see and avoid, but they would not have been there if no one had broke the law. In fact they wouldn’t have been there if we didn’t all think is was cool to watch. I use we very loosely, as I know there will be many here that say, “I don’t watch those things.” Ya, right.


Absolutely you can. The criminal was engaged in a felonious act which allows the additional indictment.

This was a cause and effect situation…

However, as a professional pilot I recognize that the helicopter pilots are wearing this because they did not see and avoid.

I also admit that I am expressing some emotion here because I am simply fed up with those who make choices that criminally endanger other people and property…cause and effect.


I’ve worked in the news business operating the camera system in a helocopter. The pilot should be a pilot and that’s it. Reporting just adds additional attention that is taken away from flying a complicated machine, looking for other aircraft, listening to multiple frequencies and flying the aircraft in the best position to get news video.
Now, throw in additional radios to listen to for live reporting, getting proper information and reporting that information while flying, that doesn’t cut it in my book. I would not fly with a pilot that has those additional responsibilities.
In San Diego, none of the pilots are reporters for the various stations, as it should be everywhere. The FAA really needs to look into this and make the pilot a fulltime 100% pilot to prevent further tragedies like Phoenix from happening again!


I support xjefe’s position on this. Flying a helicopter in congested airspace creates a high enough workload. When the other activities of ENG are added in…it’s multi-tasking at a level that pushes the safety envelope too far… imho…


I don’t think the suspect should be charged with murder or anything like that. It’s not his fault. Not at all.
It’s no more his fault than it would be the fault of a Hollywood couple’s if two helicopters crashed while trying to film their wedding ceremony. Or the fault of the local sports team if it happened over the stadium.
Sure, the dude’s guilty of something, but it has nothing to do with the helicopters crashing.


It’s maybe time for station execs in these denser markets to speak to each other and try come up with some kind of way to put safety in front of ratings. What’s the point in having half a dozen helicopters covering the same chase? (Not counting the police choppers that may also be around there)
I’m not saying that each station should not have its own chopper, but they could maybe try to work out some sort of formula to pool resources in certain circumstances.


Tell me you are kidding. In today’s TV environment??? That will never happen. It’s called G R E E D.

Wait til the next “OJ chase” and watch the helicopters swarm like bumble bees.



There you go. If you were in the process of breaking the law and someone else were hurt in the act you would be liable. I you were hurt in the process of breaking the law then ya to bad.

The point is this, is you were killed landing on a runway b/c some drunk moron parked his car on it he would be responsible. If you were an EMS pilot responding to a drunk driver crash and you balled it up on landing when you struck a power line I think that the driver should assume some responsibility.

The driver in that chase was breaking the law. If a cop had been hurt in a crash we’d be screeming for charges, why is this different?