4 dead in KNXV-TV/KTVK-TV Phoenix helicopter crash

Two TV news helicopters covering a police chase of a stolen truck in downtown Phoenix, Arizona, crashed and plummeted onto a local schoolyard Friday afternoon, killing the two-man crews of both choppers.

The casualties were identified as pilot Scott Bowerbank and photographer Jim Cox, aboard the chopper for independent station KNXV-TV Channel 15, and pilot Craig Smith and photographer Rick Krolak, aboard the helicopter for KTVK Channel 3. The helicopters were covering the police pursuit of a work truck. Just before the midair collision, the driver had jumped out of the nearly disabled vehicle and carjacked another truck. Helicopters from other stations were also in the area. Channel 3’s signal suddenly went black, and within a minute other stations began reporting news of the crash. The cause of the crash was not immediately known, but numerous witnesses told reporters for both stations of seeing the helicopters flying close together.