Friday, July 27, 2007

News helicopters collide; 4 dead

What are the chances?

A police chase through the streets of downtown Phoenix turned into a midair tragedy Friday afternoon when two television news helicopters covering the action collided and crashed to the ground in smoke and flame, killing all four people on board.

This could have been avoided if the television viewing public wasn't so amused by fast moving cars. I'm not sure what the draw is to watch someone running from the police that the stations need to interupt their regularly scheduled programming to bring us someone who really, really didn't want a ticket. Unfortunately perhaps this incident will make the media second guess the importance of covering someone who has no chance in hell of getting away anyway.

The helicopters collided as the rival stations were covering the police pursuit of a stolen white truck towing a trailer.

Thin line between getting the exculsive and becoming the exculsive.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Personally I'm tired of these things hovering over the city all the time. How many shots of the highway do we need? Why not just limit it to one that sells airtime to any news station that wants it?

July 27, 2007 9:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The press is now making their own news. I have no remorse over a dead reporter and while the idiots in the chase should meet their own demise it's not their fault leeches die fighting for a "story". Keep on news people you can keep creating your own news until there are none of you left and that is when I will rejoice.

July 28, 2007 12:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I totally agree - yahoo reporters chasing the big story for the big buck. You can report a car chase after it happens. It's not news when you watch it live - it's entertainment! If you want to die while entertaining the public and yourself, join the circus.

July 28, 2007 10:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Even though the guy who stole the truck and instigated the chase broke the law, I don't believe he should be charged with the deaths of news choppers colliding cause they couldn't fly or made piloting error, is that the guy's fault? No.

July 28, 2007 10:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know when you glance a TV, and some hair-do reporter is smiling and all: "A HIGH SPEED PURSUIT! WE HAVE LIVE COVERAGE! STAY TUNED AFTER A WORD FROM OUR SPONSORS!" ...Have you you been diagnosed with Erectile Dyusfunction? --It's a sick world isn't it?

July 28, 2007 10:31 PM  
Blogger A Mad Man said...

While I agree it is a media chasing a circus we must then recognize who is attending the circus.
The media these days makes the news, they don't report it. They decide what is newsworthy and what is not. They base this off of ratings. And what garners the highest ratings in our country? Misery, real-life tradegy and misery.
Reality programming stuffed with plotting and backstabbing and deceit in order to "win the material prize". Life-long dreams being crushed in an instant accompanied with a distasteful and heartless rant. These days, we don't cheer the winner, we cheer for the most painful way to lose.
Recent and current headlines are stuffed with things like Paris Hilton going to jail, Lindsay Lohen's spiral into whatever the hell is happening to her, live police chases that will always end with prison sentences since there is no outrunning the heli's. One must wonder how close as a society we are coming to throwing people to lions for the sake of so-called entertainment.
The media reflects our civilization. So I must ask. If the majority of our citizens are entertained by the misery of others, how well can you trust anyone to have your best interests at heart?

July 28, 2007 11:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think they'll have a hard time making charges stick to the guy that instigated the chase. If a firetruck runs a red light and kills someone, is it the arsonist's fault? If an ambulance runs someone over en route to a call, does the individual in crisis get blamed? Seems like the news crews brought this on themselves. How big a deal can it be that they needed two helicopters in the same airspace, covering the same story?? If anyone was endangering the public below the copters, it was the news teams. The only public the fleeing driver endangered were anyone in his path.

July 29, 2007 1:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it's said that they are charging the man with the deaths of the four people involved in the helicopter accident. There is no way he can controll what they do nor can he controll their obession with meaning less news. When are News Agencies going to be responsible for their own actions? Hopefully before Hell freezes over.

July 29, 2007 7:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fact /; 2 white man last week broke into a house and raped and killed 3 women (mother & daughters 22 & 17) and almost killed the father during burglary...bail $500k, black man while running away from cops, news copters colliding during chase get $M bail and gets charged for their deaths...amazing..where is Jessie & Sharpton ????

July 29, 2007 1:22 PM  
Blogger Joe said...

Yea someone needs to step in and tell this idiot of Police Chief that it's not legal to try to pin extra charged on this guy.

The DA shouldn't have to do the extra work, the Police Chief should already be educated enough to know that he can't charge this guy with the crash of a two private helicopters which were not in any way interfered with.

If this is the new way they want to do it then the simple fact is that we can't have news choppers covering these high risk stories. You can't have it both ways. Either the choppers are privately owned and cover news at their own risk or
they should be banned from these high risk missions.

You can't have it both ways and then blame the perp afterward. That's completely unfair. If the situation demands such rash legal moves then quite simply it's too dangerous to be legal and helicopters probably shouldn't be flying around downtown JUST to get some IDIOT on a high speed pursuit.

These guys died for ratings, not because of the the way this guy was driving. The police also refused to follow FBI recommend chase procedure which says you are supposed to fall back when the chases get dangerous. Instead police do exactly the opposite and risk everyones life ... for what. So they can catch one insignificant perp. When was the last time the perp outran the helicopters anyway?
There is no reason to drive aggressively yet the police do this every time. The FBI recommends against it and most civilized countries all have the policy of backing off on dangerous chases and letting the helicopter keep an eye on them until they get a SAFE opportunity.

Had the police backed off as they the FBI suggests those 4 people would still be alive. Crime happens and we can't stop that, but we can be safe in a means to capture these minor criminals.

What if those helicopters had come down flaming onto a school ? I think at that point people would be forced to admit the system that allows these under crewed helicopters to fly without supervision is just asking for this to happen, especially doing live chases. We don't need to see that stuff, the cops have camera's right in their cars anyway and sure as hell don't need two choppers covering the same guy. In dangerous situations like that just get a feed from the one station that needs to be there. Anything BUT the current setup would probably have kept these guys from dying.

Blaming the criminal is insulting stupid and ridiculously unconstitutional. It makes a mockery of the accountability in the procedure that allowed this to happen and could prevent this from happening.

Slapping this guy with unjust charges will not in any way prevent this from happening again, but smarter regulation and holding police accountable for bad decision in a high speed pursuit would.

What do you want more, to feel good this guy gets put away for way longer than anyone committing a similar crime, or to help prevent this from happening again.

If you blame the criminal your sidestep the cause of the accident,
pilot error. Then you say well what led to this error. Under crewed helicopters to start with, less that ideal piloting skills, no real procedure except don't run into each other, and the police as usual took no means to safely handle the situation but rather went for the brute force solution. Well sometimes when you just use all brute and no brains this is that kind of thing that happens.

And how far does this type of thinking go. I mean if he caused those helicopters to crash, then couldn't he be causing mental trauma to everyone who reads this and if I had a heart attack while watching this chase, could I sue him. What if I got really excited and dislocated my shoulder while routing for the police can I sue the perp or the police.. or maybe both. Hey can I sue the TV station also for conspiracy to commit murder since they should have know their actions of beaming live and unregulated coverage into my house COULD result in my injury or death.

This really makes me want to be a Police Chief, because obviously there must be no real qualifications to worry about. Certainly knowing basic law is not a necessary skill for a Police Chief. Lock em all up and the let the DA sort it out.

July 29, 2007 2:57 PM  
Anonymous Teri said...

4 very talented men lost their lives and a good portion of what I am reading here represents a cold and uncaring public. I happened to know one of those helicopter pilots personally, and am saddened not only for the lose in my own life, but for the void that will be left in our communities and the families that are left behind.

I am sure that because of this horrific accident, changes will be made to ensure the safety of those who report the news, and maybe it's time for that. But show respect for the lives of these men and what they represented. Not only did they report breaking news and traffic delays and weather but Craig would also don the jersey of one of the high school football teams here in the valley and fly over their school the morning before a big game. It was something he did back in Detroit and hoped to continue that tradition here in Phoenix. He flew transplant teams and organs for seriously ill patients who would have otherwise died. He played guitar for a local band that donated all their earnings to charity. He was all those things and so many more. Craig was a wonderful person who had many talents and he and the other men who lost their lives will be missed.

All of you talking heads can beat this subject up one way and down the other. But I for one, choose to use this time to grieve, to remember and to celebrate the life of my friend. Many, many others will too.

Rest in peace, Craig.

July 29, 2007 6:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How would you feel if both of those helicopters came down in a school yard and a number of school kids were killed, would you still feel it's worth covering a car chase or a crowded highway. Personally,I'm sure all these people were wonderful in their own right but why was the stations allowed to put them in such a position. You would best serve your
friends memory by fighting to stop such practices.
and may they all rest in peace!

July 31, 2007 8:42 PM  

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