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Four Dead After News Helicopters Collide

Two helicopter covering the news become part of it. The choppers collided Friday afternoon in Arizona, killing four people. News On 6 anchor Omar Villafranca reports Phoenix police were chasing a truck on the ground, and the choppers were following the pursuit from the air when the deadly crash happened.

“I saw a couple of helicopters hovering above and then I heard a bang,” said one witness.

“It was in the air, then it was boom, dust falling to the ground. It was that fast,” another witness said.

“I saw two helicopters on fire, plummeting to the ground in a trail of smoke. That's all I saw, and just the explosion. I can't believe it,” said an eyewitness.

Two helicopters, from different television news stations in Phoenix collided on Friday. There was smoke and flames in a downtown park where the choppers hit the ground. The two aircraft had been following a stolen vehicle police chase. A photographer and pilot on both the KNXV and KTVK television helicopters died.

“In terms of the family members that have lost loved ones, and media family that love colleagues and loved ones, our hearts, prayers go out to everyone,” said Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon. “And the tragedy we face as a community is particularly strong and painful today.”

Another chopper pilot following witnessed the crash.

"We were in route to this pursuit and unfortunately, right in front of us, two helicopters collided literally as I was coming up on scene,” said KSAZ helicopter pilot Don Hooper. “I watched them hit each other, it appeared to be, from what I could see, TV 3 and TV 15 hit mid-air, and as you can see the wreckage of both aircrafts are down in the park here. We were coming up on a pursuit and I just saw an explosion occur in front of us.”

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash.

The man police were chasing was arrested three hours later. Authorities say the suspect will probably face charges for the deaths in the crash.

Watch the video: News Choppers Collide Killing 4

For CBS news coverage of the helicopter accident, click here.

For KPHO-News 5 Phoenix, AZ video of the crash, click here.

For still photos of the helicopter crash, click here.
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