Horseplay Claimed Miami's TV Station WTVJ Channel 6 Helicopter Pilot And Photojournalist




Horseplay Claimed Miami's TV Station WTVJ Channel 6 Helicopter Pilot And Photojournalist

March 3, 2000, Miami, Florida A local television station, WTVJ channel 6 cameraman and pilot were killed when the helicopter, Sky 6 they were in crashed and bursts in to flames. The helicopter was covering a news story of a bus accident when tail section was sheared off. The helicopter went down in a residential neighborhood not far from Tamiami Airport.

The pilot took the helicopter into such a steep climb that its own rotor blades cut off its tail, as witnesses and investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board had reported.

Two witnesses who saw the fatal crash reported the helicopter was involved in a daring midair ''cat and mouse'' game with another helicopter just moments before plunging into a residential cul-de-sac in Kendall, killing pilot and photographer. The pilot of the second helicopter has been identified as Jonathan Fox, a friend of Rivero who has worked as a freelance pilot for the station in the past.

Fox and an unidentified passenger were flying a Robinson R44, a three seat helicopter, when he spotted the Channel 6 chopper with Rivero and Pierce aboard. They had been covering a collision involving a school bus and a train and were flying back to the Kendall-Tamiami Executive Airport.

Another witness reported saw the two helicopters dodging and weaving within feet of each another. ''I have never seen anything like it,'' ''They looked like kids playing tricks on one another and getting in each other's way". ''It was like watching Blue Angel stunt planes doing stunts for an audience.'' Just before the accident, one of the pilots told the other, ''Watch this!'' according to monitors of the radio frequency used by helicopters.

They were not sure whether it was Rivero's voice. ''I heard it from two separate sides of the airport, one in the air, one at the base station monitoring the transmissions,'' said a helicopter pilot who heard the radio exchange. ''When you hear, 'Watch this!' coming from a helicopter pilot, it's not a good thing.''

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