KOMO-TV, aviation contractor to pay $40M to men in crash

SEATTLE (AP) — KOMO-TV, its aviation contractor and the estate of the station’s late pilot will pay $40 million to two men who were injured when a news helicopter nose-dived off the station’s rooftop near Seattle’s Space Needle four years ago and crashed into their cars.

The Seattle Times reports the settlement came in court Monday after testimony and new records emerged in the final stages of the weekslong civil trial.

The testimony and records bolstered contentions by surviving crash victims Guillermo Sanchez and Richard Newman that Sinclair Broadcast-owned KOMO and its contractor, Helicopters Inc., ignored long-standing safety concerns about landing on the station’s rooftop helipad.

Under the settlement, neither KOMO nor Helicopters Inc. admitted wrongdoing for the fiery crash on March 18, 2014, that killed pilot Gary Pfitzner and photojournalist Bill Strothman, and injured Sanchez and Newman as they sat in vehicles near the news station.