A news helicopter crashed in downtown Seattle Tuesday morning, killing two people and injuring one, officials said.

The chopper, used by local television networks KOMO, an ABC affiliate, and KING5, an NBC affiliate, went down near Seattle's Space Needle at about 7:40 a.m. PT. Photos showed a fire and large plumes of smoke where it crashed.

Two people died on the scene, where three cars were burning, the Seattle Fire Department said. Paramedics took a 37-year-old man, who had been in one of the cars, to the hospital in critical condition.

The man managed to pull himself out of the car before he was taken to Harborview Medical Center, KING5.com reported.

Three passengers were on board the helicopter, which was taking off from a downtown helipad when it crashed and burned, according to the FAA. It was not immediately clear whether there were other casualties.

The crash happened in the 400 block of Broad Street, next to Fisher Plaza, where KOMO is based. The weather was cloudy with winds of about 7 mph at the time.

Seattle resident Ryan Kirk, who works three blocks away from the Space Needle, was walking to a nearby coffee shop Tuesday morning when he heard a loud noise.

"I saw black smoke coming up right by the Space Needle, like the Space Needle was on fire," he said. "I knew it was something serious."

For the full story, visit: http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/news-helicopter-crashes-seattles-space-needle-killing-two-n55666

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