TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — For the first time since the sudden passing of Chief Photojournalist Paul Lamison, Eagle 8 HD returned to the Tampa Bay skies Wednesday for WFLA News Channel 8’s morning newscasts.
Paul suffered a heart attack and passed away last week. He was 57 years old and had been with News Channel 8 for nearly 30 years. Most viewers knew Paul best as a member of our morning team and for being our eye in the sky in the Eagle 8 HD news helicopter. He spent many mornings up in the sky over Tampa Bay reporting on traffic conditions and other news as it developed.
As children across the area got ready to head back to school Wednesday, Eagle 8 returned to the sky for our morning newscast for the first time without Paul.
Keith Alan, who developed a friendship with Paul over the years, captured the helicopter taking off from Davis Islands before sunrise.
“Eagle 8 is getting back in the air today,” Alan said in a video sent to WFLA. “A little strange not to see my friend Paul stepping aboard Eagle 8 but I think Paul would want Eagle 8 to go back up [and] report on traffic and newsworthy items.”
Alan said he got to know Paul over the years because he would pass by him many mornings and say hello while Paul was getting ready to take off in Eagle 8 from Peter O. Knight Airport.
“I’m a cyclist, and I would see him coming into the gate as he was getting ready to step onto Eagle 8,” Alan said.
He sent us the video of Eagle taking off Wednesday, and said he would miss saying hello to Paul every morning.
“He always had a smile on his face and no matter what we talked about, he was very gracious,” Alan said. “I have a regular routine that brings me down there and I have been talking to Paul for a little over four years. It is definitely going to be hard without him. He brought much light to the Bay area.”
Alan’s video captured two minutes of the helicopter getting ready to take off before it finally launched into the sky to cover the news of the day.
“Eagle 8 in the air,” Alan said in the video. “What a beautiful sight. There she goes.”