Conroe_UPDATE_A pilot and television camera operator died Monday when their helicopter crashed near Houston on the way to cover a news story.
KTRK, an affiliate of ABC, reported the helicopter it had leased was flying to the scene of a shooting when it crashed in a state forest near Conroe, on the northern edge of Houston's suburbs.
Local stations showed video of burning trees and a pile of debris made up of pieces of the helicopter. The station's SkyEye logo was partially visible on one piece.
"All of us at KTRK-TV are deeply saddened by the tragic accident involving SkyEye 13 and our hearts go out to the families of the pilot and the photographer," station spokesman Tom Ash said in a statement.
It was not immediately clear what caused the 11:30 a.m. crash. Authorities from the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board were heading to the area to investigate, said Sgt. Kenneth Hiebert of the state Department of Public Safety.
"Most of it burned" after impact, Hiebert said.
There were a few houses nearby but none were damaged.
The aircraft, a Bell 206L4, was owned by Helicopters Inc., company spokeswoman Seva Kaiser told the Houston Chronicle. She said she did not know how old the helicopter was.
The company leases aircraft to about 70 news organizations around the country.
Associated Press broadcast editor Diana Heidgerd in Dallas contributed to this report.
Juan A. Lozano, AP Writer © 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Visit http://abclocal.go.com/ktrk/story?section=news/local&id=6446793 for continuing coverage.
Copyright 2008 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.
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