KOMO chopper crash survivor files lawsuit

by: Alison Grande Updated:

SEATTLE - Guillermo Sanchez survived the KOMO News helicopter crash.

The helicopter landed on his truck and then burst into flames killing the two men on board.

Sanchez, 44, filed a lawsuit with the hopes this kind of accident won't happen again.

On March 18, 2014, Sanchez was driving to work.

The helicopter lifted off the roof of the KOMO building then crashed onto Broad Street at 7:40 a.m. It landed on top of a car and truck waiting at the stop light.

The liftoff was captured on a surveillance camera from a nearby McDonald’s Restaurant.

The huge plume of black smoke and river of burning fuel were recorded on the dash cameras of Seattle police patrol cars.

Sanchez was able to get out of his truck and wanted to help the men in the helicopter. It burst into flames killing KOMO pilot Gary Pfitzner and KOMO photographer Bill Strothman.

Alisa Brodkowitz is the attorney for Sanchez. She said Sanchez suffers from PTSD from the crash.

"He saw a helicopter falling onto the roof of his truck. He felt what he thought was the wind of the rotor pass over his head," described Brodkowitz. "He saw the men in the helicopter and he knew he couldn't help them."

Guillermo Sanchez at middle.
© 2017 Cox Media Group.

Sanchez is suing Airbus (the maker of the helicopter), Sinclair Broadcast Group (which owns KOMO), Helicopters Inc. (the operator of the helicopter), and the pilot's estate.

"This lawsuit is really about preventing anything like this from happening again," said Brodkowitz. "They need to think not only about the safety of the crew but the safety of ground victims."

The other vehicle involved in the accident was driven by Richard Newman. He survived and was severely burned. 

His attorney told KIRO 7 that Newman was not interested in talking about the crash on the two-year anniversary.

The National Transportation Safety Board has not completed the investigation.