The man in the car who was injured this morning in the tragic KOMO TV helicopter crash that claimed the lives of the pilot and camera operator, has been identified as 38 year old Richard Newman of Seattle. He was transported to Harborview Medical Center with severe burns estimated at covering 50% of his body and initially admitted with a condition as critical but later this afternoon that condition was upgraded to serious and the estimate of burn coverage dropped to 20%. From the KOMO website:
Harborview Hospital spokesperson Susan Gregg said the 38-year-old suffered second- and third-degree burns on 20 percent of his body. He’s also being treated for a head wound and a broken rib.
Gregg said Newman’s family is now by his side at the hospital.
“He’s got family here and his partner, so they’re here,” Gregg said. “They were shocked, like everybody else.”
Newman is currently in the hospital’s intensive care unit and will need surgery for his burns.
Mr. Newman was trapped in his car under the burning wreckage of the helicopter for more than a minute but managed to extricate himself from the vehicle before a Fisher Plaza security guard could reach the scene. That guard, former police officer Brian Post assisted Newman in extinguishing the flames still engulfing his body. Post and other eyewitnesses were shocked that Newman survived the trauma of the crash and the fire.
We’ve also learned that Richard Newman is apparently a softball player on Emerald City Softball Association’s SEATTLE PHOENIX team sponsored by Purr Lounge. The ECSA posted a message on the team’s Facebook wall this evening.
We’ll keep you posted on Mr. Newman’s progress and the community’s reaction to today’s events.