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KTRK Helicopter Crash Kills Two

A helicopter crash early Monday has killed a pilot and a photographer working on contract for KTRK Houston.

The ABC-owned station confirmed on its Website that the helicopter, which crashed in a wooded area in Montgomery County, was KTRK’s SkyEyeHD 13, and that the two men were employed by traffic-news contractor Metro Networks.

There was no word on the immediate cause; however, the station aired video from the chopper just before the crash.

The pilot and photographer were identified as John Downhower and David Garrett.

"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," said a KTRK spokesman in a statement.

Westwood One, which owns Metro Networks, released the following statement: "The Westwood One family wishes to express its deepest sympathies to the families of the two occupants of the news helicopter that crashed outside of Houston today. The photographer on board, David Garrett, was a Metro Networks employee; the pilot, John Downhower, worked for a vendor from whom Metro Networks leases helicopters. At the time of the incident, the helicopter team was covering news for KTRK Channel 13. Sadly, there were no survivors in the crash. We are awaiting further reports and information from the investigating authorities on this tragic incident."

The safety of TV station helicopters grabbed headlines in July 2007 when choppers for Phoenix stations KNXV and KTVK collided in mid-air.