Downed Seattle News Chopper Owned by Illinois Company

Helicopters Inc. is based in the St. Louis suburb of Cahokia

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    This video shows the scene of a deadly helicopter crash near the Seattle Space Needle, from Instagram user @gatorvision. (Published Tuesday, March 18, 2014)

    A news helicopter that crashed in Seattle, killing a pilot and another man on board, was owned by an Illinois company.

    The victims of Tuesday's crash worked for Helicopters Inc., based in the St. Louis suburb of Cahokia. That business also owned the Eurocopter AS350 chopper.

    The chopper, leased jointly by KOMO and KING-TV, crashed in downtown Seattle and burst into flames. KOMO officials identified the victims as pilot Gary Pfitzner of Issaquah, Wash., and former longtime KOMO photographer Bill Strothman.

    A message left Wednesday by The Associated Press with Helicopters Inc. was not immediately returned.

    Federal investigators are trying to determine what caused the chopper to plummet. Sources told an NBC News expert that because there was a lot of construction equipment in the area, they believed it may have struck something.