Bird strike forces Coast Guard helicopter crew to make emergency landing
No injuries reported; helicopter flies away after damage assessment
KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. – A bird strike forced a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter crew to make an emergency landing Thursday in Key Biscayne.
The Coast Guard said the helicopter crew was on a routine flight when they made an emergency landing about 10:30 a.m.
"Looks like the bird hit the pilot's windshield and then might have hit other components on the aircraft as well," Coast Guard commanding officer Capt. Michael Platt said. "They felt some vibration, so that is an emergency. They went through their appropriate emergency procedures."
With the help of Key Biscayne police, they landed the chopper down in Bill Baggs State Park without incident.
A view from Sky 10 showed the helicopter on the beach near the southern side of Key Biscayne.
Two pilots, a flight mechanic and a rescue swimmer were on the helicopter at the time, but no injuries were reported.
"The men and women who work on our aircraft also fly on our aircraft, and so there was a mechanic on board that was able to conduct a thorough inspection," Platt said.
After a damage assessment was conducted to determine whether the helicopter was safe to fly, it took off and headed back to the Coast Guard Air Station Miami in Opa-locka.
Platt said they spend 40 percent of their flight time training for emergencies like this and that bird strikes happen more often than you would think.
"Back in January of 2009, U.S. Airways Flight 1549, the miracle on the Hudson -- that was a bird strike," Platt said. "That was certainly a more significant bird strike, so birds can be a threat to aviation safety. Fortunately, our crews came home safe today."
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