Mom, 7-year-old aboard tour helicopter describe hard landing in Orlando

Chopper lands next to Kirkman Road

By Troy Campbell - Reporter

ORLANDO, Fla. - A mother told News 6 on Thursday that she and her 7-year-old son were on board a helicopter that took a hard landing.

[RELATED: Tour helicopter makes emergency landing near Orlando road]

Investigators said the tourist helicopter made the emergency landing at about 10:30 a.m. Wednesday.

Charlotte Cwajna and her son, Harrison, showed News 6 pictures of them with the damaged chopper, walking away without injury.

Cwajna said her family decided to take a helicopter tour right before driving to the airport to go home to England.

Cwajna said just minutes into the ride, they heard a loud noise. Red and yellow lights started to flash.

"We were chatting away, and then suddenly there was this big quiet loud clunk, and the helicopter dropped a bit in the air and the pilot, Steve, said, 'I don't know what that is,'" Cwajna said.

Cwajna and her son said everything happened fast.

"At first I thought this is probably, he's not sure, he's just cautious and he's bringing it down for an emergency landing, but then because he was trying to be so reassuring I realized something was wrong," Cwajna said.

Her husband, George, was waiting for them at the launch pad, wondering why the two had not returned in the six minutes the ride was suppose to take.

"George said when he saw people running around frantically, he knew that something was wrong," Cwajna said.

Once they hit the ground, Cwajna said her priority became getting off the helicopter with her son in case of a fire or fuel leak.

Running on adrenaline, the family took several photos with the damaged helicopter and the pilot.

"You know how adrenaline kicks in, so I think we were kind of in a funny state of elation just to kind of be off it, and know that we are safe and stuff and realize how serious it was. So I think it was a huge relief," Cwajna said.

Just hours after the hard landing, the family boarded a plane back to England. The family said 7-year-old Harrison was allowed to pick out a new toy at the store to help him relax before boarding another flight.

Cwajna said the pilot and the company he works for were extremely helpful and polite during the frightening situation.

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