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www.wmfd.com - The T-V News community is Seattle and around the nation is mourning the loss of a photojournalist and a helicopter pilot. }}" />

   
 
 
Friends Remember Victims In News Helicopter Crash

Story By: Larry Stine

 

 

 
 
 
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  Original Published: 3/19/2014

The T-V News community is Seattle and around the nation is mourning the loss of a photojournalist and a helicopter pilot. Both died in a fiery chopper crash Tuesday. Tina Patel has the story. Bob Throndsen couldn't believe it when he heard about the crash and the death of his former colleague Bill Strothman. "My heart was shredded, he was someone I had worked with for 30 years," says Throndsen. "Somebody who was an extraordinary photojournalist, a passionate guy, a great friend." Strothman had worked in the KOMO newsroom since 1979, retiring from full-time work in 2008, but continuing to freelance for the station. Travis Mayfield, who now works at Q13 Fox, was a friend of his. "You can't talk to a person who has worked in that newsroom over the last 30 years who didn't know him, who doesn't have a story about him, who didn't have a Bill adventure," says Mayfield. "The man defined journalism." "He made me better," says Throndsen. "He made everyone he worked with better, just by the way he approached stories, by the way he approached people, by the way he approached life." Friends say Gary Pfitzner, an experienced helicopter pilot, also had a great spirit and a love for flying. "Gary is the guy you'd pass in the hallway or lunchroom and he always had a smile on his face," says Mayfield. "I know for a fact that Gary was doing everything he could to regain or maintain control of that aircraft and if possible, steer it away from people and cars and vehicles and stuff on the ground I know that that was the last thing he was doing," says former Chopper 7 pilot Clark Stahl. For those who work in the news business, it's been difficult today to cover a story that hits so close to home. "We cover tragedies all the time, in the news business, and it effects you even when its not someone you know but when its someone you known for years and worked with on a daily basis it uh, it hurts," says Stahl. But their colleagues have a chance to make sure these two men won't be forgotten. "Photographers rarely get seen on TV, and I guess that's the way it's supposed to be," says Throndsen. "But without people like Bill Strothman, no story gets told on television." The driver of a car on the street below was severely burned when the chopper crashed down onto it. He's in critical condition this morning, with burns over 50 percent of his body.

   
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