Tour helicopter makes emergency landing near Orlando road

Pilot, 2 others uninjured in hard landing next to Kirkman Road

ORLANDO, Fla. - A tour helicopter carrying three people lost power in midair Thursday morning and made an emergency landing near a busy Orlando intersection, officials said.

The pilot, who has been flying for 11 years, said the helicopter was 600 feet in the air when he heard a loud popping noise and the chopper lost power.

"I know the pilot said he heard a loud pop, and then he lost power and he brought the helicopter down to a safe landing," Orlando Fire District Chief Curtis Elsis said.

The pilot landed the helicopter in a grassy median next to South Kirkman Road, just north of Sand Lake Road, according to Orlando Fire District Chief Curtis Elsis.

In the 911 call released by Orlando County Fire Rescue the dispatcher had trouble understanding where the helicopter landed.

“So they’re on the landing pad? But they did a rough landing?” the dispatcher asked.

“No they’re not on a landing pad,” the caller said. “There is no landing pad, no nothing.”

No injuries were reported.

"Everyone is doing perfectly fine," Elsis said. "The pilot did a fantastic job."

A  pilot and two tourists visiting from England were inside the helicopter at the time of the landing.

The tail of the helicopter snapped during the hard landing.

A stretch of Kirkman Road was closed from Sand Lake Road to Carrier Drive. It reopened a short time later.

The FAA will investigate.

The helicopter is operated by Air Florida Helicopter Charters Inc., located 2 and a half miles away on International Drive. Officials there said the pilot made the right call.

"We are extremely happy and grateful that thanks to our pilot's fast reaction and excellent professional skills nobody was hurt today," Lyuba Mavrodieva of Air Florida Helicopter Charters Inc. said in a statement. "Our customers were brought back to our location in good spirits and health."

Air Florida Helicopters Inc. stopped tours Thursday but it plans to reopen Friday.


 

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