News Chopper Crash Memorial
July 27, 2007, was a Phoenix TV programmer's gift from heaven: a police chase of a stolen pickup truck, on a Friday, during peak lunch hour viewing time. The cops followed the vehicle through the streets of the city for over 40 minutes, and five different local TV station choppers followed as well, feeding live video to their viewers. The police had its own helicopter, adding to the congestion.
Something was bound to happen, and it did. The Channel 15 helicopter flew into the Channel 3 helicopter and they crashed in a fiery heap onto the lawn of a local park. Both pilots and both cameramen were killed.
One year later to the day, a concrete memorial with pictures of all four casualties -- Craig Smith, Rick Krolak, Scott Bowerbank, and Jim Cox -- was dedicated about 50 feet from the crash site. At the ceremony, a father of one of the reporters asked, "Why do we have to send five helicopters up to cover a non-newsworthy event?" But another local news chopper pilot declared that, "Given another chance at life, they would do exactly what they were doing."