The St. Lucie County Fair on Florida’s east coast was lucky to have a capable helicopter pilot on board Saturday when the chopper’s engine died. The helicopter was giving rides at the fair, when it crashed into the fairgrounds.
The pilot said the fuel pressure light came on and the engine sputtered and died, according to the Sun-Sentinel. The pilot employed emergency landing procedures to ‘auto-rotate’ into a field using the blades to slow the helicopter. The crash landing broke the chopper’s tail rotor into several pieces. Luckily, the pilot and two passengers from Vero Beach, Florida were not injured.
The cause of the engine failure is under investigation.
The Helicopter Association International reported that in 2008 there were 140 civil helicopter accidents in the U.S., 29 of them fatal.