Tragic Deaths Today of ABC 13 Employees

SkyEye 13 pilot John Downhower and photographer Dave Garrett were killed whenthe ABC13 helicopter crashed on its way to a breaking news scene. SkyEye HD crashed in a wooded area near the intersection of FM 1488 and Peoples Road.

It's been confirmed through Hooks Airport that no distress call was issued prior to the crash, a crash that apparently happened very quickly.

SkyEye, which is owned by Helicopters Inc. and leased to Metro, had been covering a shoot-out in southwest Montgomery County. The last images fed in to Channel 13 before the crash show the landing skid as the helicopter banked hard to the right.

Both the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board have been called in to investigate. The extent of the damage will be an issue, as authorities try to figure out exactly what happened.

An official with the FAA was on the scene investigating the cause of the crash Monday afternoon.

KTRK spokesperson Tom Ash released the following statement:

    "All of us at KTRK-TV are deeply saddened by the tragic accident involving SkyEye13 and our hearts go out to the families of the pilot and the photographer."
Lori Freese