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Two Die in Crash of News Helicopter Near Denver

October 20, 1988

LOUVIERS, Colo. (AP) _ Two members of a television news team returning from the site of a fatal plane crash were killed when their helicopter clipped a power line in a remote hilly area near here and slammed to the ground.

Leo Galanis, a reporter-pilot for KUSA-TV in Denver, and Brian Hostetler, a photographer, died in the accident in west-central Colorado on Wednesday, said Bob Sullivan, the station’s assistant news director.

The crash was the sixth serious accident and the second with fatalities since the city’s television stations began using the aircraft 10 years ago.

The bodies were not retrieved Wednesday because ″it’s just too rugged″ to move through the terrain in darkness, said Douglas County Sheriff Steve Zotos. Federal investigators were to join the sheriff’s deputies today at the scene near here, about 45 miles southwest of metropolitan Denver, Zotos said.

Galanis, 43, and Hostetler, 28, had been filming at the site where a Piper Cherokee 140 crashed Tuesday, killing three children and critically burning their parents.

Sullivan said the two had talked to station personnel several times by telephone before they started back to Denver.

″I believe Leo said there were some high winds, but he didn’t seem to be real concerned about it,″ Sullivan said.

Their helicopter apparently hit a power line, crashed to the ground and shattered, officials said.

Patrick Parkhill, a helicopter pilot for Public Service Co. of Colorado who had been sent to the area to determine the cause of a power outage, discovered the crash.

″You couldn’t really tell (it was a helicopter),″ Parkhill said. ″It was torn up pretty bad.″

Parkhill said it was raining in the area before he discovered the wreckage.

In December 1982, pilot Karen Key and aviation mechanic Larry Zane were killed when the helicopter she was flying for what is now KCNC-TV, Denver’s Channel 4, crashed south of Denver. They were en route to a southern Colorado plane crash when the copter went down in a snowstorm.

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