Friday, January 29, 2010

Oman chopper pilots in lucky escape from crash in Australia

2 Omani ROP helicopter pilots had a lucky escape from almost certain death when their helicopter crash-landed on the edge of a 550m vertical cliff.

Photo: The crashed helicopter perched on the narrow ledge.

The trainee pilots were reportedly doing mountain flying training in New South Wales, Australia. The cause of the crash is unknown, but these really are 3 lucky pilots!

Three safe as chopper crashes on cliff

Greg Stolz From: Herald Sun January 29, 2010 12:00AM

THREE men have miraculously walked away from a dramatic mountain-top crash-landing in a helicopter owned by former champion ironman Grant Kenny.

The Curry Kenny Aviation chopper, with an instructor and two student pilots on board, crashed onto a narrow ridge in the Mt Barney National Park in northern NSW just after 1pm on Thursday.

Rescuers said the Robinson 44 helicopter would have plunged down a 550m cliff had the pilot not managed to put the aircraft down where he did.

"They are very, very lucky," said Westpac rescue pilot Martin Hanna. "The pilot probably saw that little bit of rock and knew that if they didn't land there, they were in trouble. A few more metres to the north and they'd have gone about 1800ft straight down a vertical cliff."

Mr Hanna said the helicopter crashed on to the ridge on its right side.

"Fortunately, they had a mobile phone on board and were able to call in where they were straight away," he said.

The rescue helicopter lowered a doctor and paramedic on to the ridge and then winched the three, in their 30s and 40s, to safety.

"It looked quite spectacular but was a fairly straightforward rescue," Mr Hanna said.

The student pilots were believed to be from the Royal Oman Police Force and were training with Curry Kenny Aviation subsidiary Chopperline, based at Caloundra. They and the instructor were not injured and were taken to Woodenbong, near Kyogle, to speak to police. A spokesman for Mr Kenny said the three men were on a mountain training drill when the accident happened.

"They were practising on top of the cliff and may have been hovering only about a metre above it," he said. "Fortunately, no one was hurt."

The spokesman said Mr Kenny would not comment on what may have caused the crash, because it was being investigated by authorities. It's believed there were storms in the area. The slightly damaged helicopter was being winched off its crash pad by a larger chopper, the spokesman said.

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