Helicopter makes emergency landing on Fort Lauderdale street

Nobody injured, but Mercedes SUV damaged by helicopter's rotor blades

By Tim Swift - Local10.com Digital Editor

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A small helicopter made an emergency landing on a downtown street during rush hour Wednesday in Fort Lauderdale.

Greg May, a spokesman for the Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue Department, said two people were on board when the craft made a hard landing just before 5 p.m. in the 300 block of Southeast Second Street. 

The tail section of the helicopter broke off in the landing, but no one was hurt. The chopper managed to avoid moving cars and pedestrians on the street.

However, the helicopter's rotor blades did slam against a parked Mercedes SUV.

Video from Sky 10 showed the small craft -- a Schweizer 269C-1 -- sitting in the middle of Second Street. The tail section could be seen laying a few yards away from the helicopter.

A crowd of onlookers gathered at the scene, just a block from Las Olas Boulevard, taking photos and videos with their mobile phones.

"You don't usually expect a helicopter to be parallel parking next to cars," one witness said.

The two people aboard the helicopter were an flying instructor and a student. The helicopter took off from a municipal helipad on Southeast Second Street, but the student told Local 10 News that they quickly encountered engine trouble shortly after takeoff.

The student did not say who was piloting the helicopter.

The Federal Aviation Administration said it was investigating the landing.

The 10-year-old helicopter is registered to Helocraft Holdings Co. in Pembroke Pines.

The incident shut down Second Street and other nearby streets for several hours, causing traffic delays.

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