TV A-Stars Collide Over Phoenix, Four Dead
While broadcasting a police chase on July 27 over Phoenix, a pair of Eurocopter AS350-B2 helicopters collided when their pilots apparently lost sight of each other, killing both pilot/reporters and their cameramen. The dead were identified as KNXV Channel 15 pilot/reporter Craig Smith and his cameraman, Rick Krolak, and KTVK Channel 3 pilot/reporter Scott Bowerbank and his cameraman, Jim Cox. The helicopters were part of a flock of five television news copters and one police helicopter following a stolen pick-up truck. In the moments before the crash, Channel 15 pilot Smith could be heard over the radio asking, “Where’s 3? Like how far? Oh jeez. Three I’m right over you. 15’s right over you.” At that point the ships collided and the television signal from the Channel 15 helicopter went dead at 12:47 p.m. The helicopters collided at approximately 500 ft agl and wreckage from both fell into a city park and burned. There were no injuries on the ground, but debris was strewn over a half-mile area. The driver of the stolen truck was captured and is being held in the Maricopa County Jail in lieu of $1 million bail. The district attorney is considering charging the driver with the deaths of the helicopter crews.