"It looked like the helicopter was trying to take off, and it just was trying to stabilize and it looked odd ... and it just took a nose dive right down there on the street," said one eyewitness. "And the scary thing about was the gas from the helicopter started leaking and it caught a car or two on fire - so it's crazy."
Update, 12:00 p.m. Earlier reports about the cause of the crash were apparently inaccurate. The helicopter was taking off from the roof of Fisher Plaza, the building where the KOMO News offices are located, when something went terribly wrong. No further word yet on the condition of those involved in the crash. One man was seen running from the wreckage with his shirtsleeve on fire shortly after the helicopter touched down, but emergency crews were able to extinguish him.
Update, 11:31 p.m. Information is starting to trickle in about what caused the crash. The Seattle News reports the helicopter "was trying to land," but doesn't elaborate on what went wrong, exactly. To add some scope to the crash scene, one nearby witness captured a photo of the crash with the base of the Space Needle:
Original: Emergency crews raced to the scene where a KOMO News helicopter crashed in downtown Seattle on Tuesday morning, hitting two cars and setting off a series of explosions. According to the Seattle Fire Department, two people are dead at the scene and at least one man was being rushed to the hospital in critical condition.
Very little information is available about injuries or the cause of the crash just yet, but the scene depicted in this bystander video is grim. The KOMO helicopter fell out of the sky and struck two cars "just feet from the Space Needle," KOMO News reports. "It was not immediately clear what happened to the helicopter's crew."
Adding to the horrific scene, the KOMO News offices are not far from where the crash took place. Some employees tweeted pictures of emergency crews attempting to get the fire under control.
Chopper tail visible amid the smoke & car wreckage pic.twitter.com/uZ57DibreU— Kelly Koopmans (@KellyKOMO4) March 18, 2014
This is a breaking story that we'll continue to update as it develops.