A news helicopter crashed Tuesday morning near the Space Needle in Seattle.
Both people inside the chopper were killed, and another person in a vehicle on the ground was critically injured.
The injured man, 37, extricated himself from one of three vehicles that caught fire.
He was taken to Harborview Medical Center in critical condition with burns over 50 percent of his body.
A woman inside a second car was not injured; a man inside a third vehicle -- a pickup truck -- had left the scene and was being sought by authorities.
Arriving firefighters found lines of blazing fuel in the street and thick, black smoke covering the area, with wreckage strewn across the lawn along with wreckage across the street.
Authorities didn't know what led to the crash, but it did not appear that any buildings were struck by the leased helicopter, which was destroyed.
The incident occurred around 7:40 a.m., more than two hours before the Space Needle was to open but at a time when the area was abuzz with commuters en route to work.
CNN affiliate KOMO said the helicopter crashed near its offices. It was used by CNN affiliates KOMO and KING, according to KING's website.
Rich Marriott, a meteorologist for KING, said weather did not appear to have contributed to the crash -- visibility was clear and winds were calm, he said.
Representatives of the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration were expected to help investigate the crash.
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Photo Courtesy: Santa Barbara County Fire Dept.
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Gerardo Mora/Getty Image
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