Tragedy Strikes the Sky: Two News Crew Members Killed in ABC Action News Helicopter Crash

ABC Action News Helicopter Crash in NJ

The devastating helicopter crash that claimed the lives of two esteemed members of the ABC Action News team, Pilot Monroe Smith and Photographer Christopher Dougherty, on December 20th, 2023, has sent shockwaves through the journalistic community. As the investigation into the crash unfolds, we reflect on the indelible impact these individuals had on their colleagues, the Philadelphia community, and the broader field of journalism.

Remembering the Victims:

Monroe Smith, a seasoned pilot with over two decades of experience, was more than just a skilled aviator—he was a mentor and a true professional. Known for his calm demeanor, Smith’s dedication to his craft made him a respected figure within the Action News team.

Christopher Dougherty, a talented photographer with a decade of service, had an innate ability to capture the essence of a story through his lens. Colleagues remember Dougherty as a bright light with an infectious enthusiasm for his work, leaving an irreplaceable void in the newsroom.

A Community in Mourning:

The impact of Smith and Dougherty’s untimely departure is felt not only within the Action News family but throughout the Philadelphia region. Colleagues, viewers, and community members alike have expressed their grief and solidarity, creating a communal atmosphere of mourning.

Action News has taken the responsible step of suspending all helicopter operations as the community rallies to support the families of the victims. A memorial fund has been established to honor the memory of these heroes.

A Reminder of the Risks:

The tragic Chopper 6 crash serves as a stark reminder of the inherent risks faced by news helicopter crews in their pursuit of informing the public. These individuals, who often operate in challenging conditions, deserve our gratitude for their unwavering dedication to the principles of journalism.

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Moving Forward:

As the investigation unfolds, the Action News family remains determined to honor Smith and Dougherty’s memory by continuing their mission of storytelling. The station’s decision to suspend helicopter operations reflects a commitment to safety as they navigate this challenging period.

Beyond the News:

This tragedy transcends the realm of journalism; it reminds us of life’s fragility and the importance of cherishing our loved ones. In the days to come, as more details emerge, we anticipate a broader conversation about safety measures in the helicopter journalism industry. A collective effort to support those who risk their lives for our well-informed society is crucial.


The helicopter crash that claimed the lives of Monroe Smith and Christopher Dougherty is a profound loss to the journalistic community and the Philadelphia region. As we await the results of the investigation, we honor their memory by acknowledging the risks journalists take to keep us informed. Let this tragedy serve as a catalyst for improvements in safety measures within the industry, ensuring that the dedication of individuals like Smith and Dougherty is met with a commitment to their well-being. In their memory, we extend our deepest condolences to their families, friends, and the entire ABC Action News family.

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