Man burned in Seattle copter crash breathing on his own

SEATTLE - The 38-year-old man who was injured on the ground when KOMO's news helicopter crashed Tuesday in Seattle is continuing to improve.

Harborview Medical Center reports Richard Newman of Seattle was taken off a machine and is breathing on his own.

Newman initially was listed in critical condition, but was upgraded to serious condition by Tuesday afternoon. Harborview spokeswoman Susan Gregg says he remains in serious condition Wednesday in the intensive care unit and will need surgery for burns.

Newman suffered second- and third-degree burns on his back and arms, when his car was set afire by the helicopter crashing into the street near the Space Needle. He's also being treated for a head wound and a broken rib.

Newman spent an agonizing 90 seconds trapped inside his burning car before he was able to get out on his own. A Fisher Plaza security guard ran to Newman's aid as he ran from the car with his sleeve on fire.
Richard Newman

Two other drivers whose vehicles burned escaped uninjured.

Gregg said Newman's family is now by his side at the hospital. She says anyone wishing to send well wishes to Newman may do so through their email a patient service.

Newman works primarily as a clinical trials project manager at Genelex in Seattle. He also works as a disease intervention specialist with the King County Public Health Department.

The pilot and news photographer aboard the helicopter working for KOMO-TV died in the crash.