Friday 26 December 2014

Two men miraculously escape in helicopter emergency landing

Published 19/08/2014 | 00:30

The dramatic landing happened in Ringaskiddy when the pilot and a student were on a training flight. Photo: Provision

Two men had a miraculous escape when their helicopter made an emergency landing after developing a fault at 1,600 feet over Cork.

The pilot, John Toal, who had survived a similar emergency landing a number of years ago, skillfully brought the Robinson R4 helicopter down for a safe landing on a grassy area near Cork Harbour.

He managed to do so immediately he realised the machine had developed a serious problem.

The dramatic landing happened in Ringaskiddy when the pilot and a student were on a training flight.

The pilot apparently heard a strange vibration and realised there was a possible mechanical problem.

He undertook an emergency landing and ‘feathered’ or powered down the engine for a cushioned landing.

Incredibly, the helicopter landed without any major damage being sustained.

Both men were uninjured.

In a remarkable coincidence, Mr Toal made a similarly successful emergency landing five years ago.

He landed a helicopter at Mahon Golf Course after that aircraft, a different model to the one he was flying yesterday, also developed an engine problem.

He was similarly uninjured in that incident.

Mr Toal is a hugely experienced pilot and an instructor with SkyWest Aviation.

The Robinson helicopter is one of the most common in the private and commercial aviation industries.

An inspection of the craft is now underway to determine what caused the problem.

Eye-witnesses said it was “absolutely incredible” to see the helicopter swoop in at low level and manage a perfect landing in the field.

“I wouldn’t have believed it but I saw it with my own eyes,” one man said.

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