Helicopter Christmas Tree Crash

November 23, 2011 by staff 

Helicopter Christmas Tree Crash, Chopper pilot Greg Gribble was left shaken by otherwise unharmed after his aircraft came crashing down to earth after its rotary blades seemed to catch on a cable.

The amazing incident, which happened at around 10.30am on Wednesday (9.30pm Tuesday, GMT) was recorded in its entirety, and shows the helicopter folding in on itself before spinning to the ground from around five or six metres up.

Crash investigators from the Civil Aviation Authority are investigating the official cause of the incident, which saw nearby workers run for their lives before returning to the scene to pull Mr Gribble free of the wreckage.

The incident occurred while the Helisika Helicopters firm were installing a seven-storey high, fibre optic Christmas tree on Te Wero Island in Auckland’s Viaduct Basin area as part of their festive decorations.

Afterwards, it was revealed the pilot had been flung from the helicopter as it fell – and the footage reveals just how close he came to being struck by the blades.

Eyewitness Jason Aarsen said he heard ‘a massive whack’ which caught his attention before he watched in horror as the chopper appeared to disintegrate.

‘It sounded like two power cables hitting each other and, as I turned around, I just saw the helicopter drop, completely freefall,’ he said.

‘The blades blew out and completely snapped in half.

‘[The helicopter] propped itself up and sat like a fish out of water. It was really gnarly, but then I saw the pilot sitting there, speaking.’

A full report on the causes of the crash is expected within the next month

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