Helicopter makes emergency landing
A HELICOPTER pilot made an emergency landing alongside the Bruce Highway yesterday morning, causing chaos for passing traffic.
Drivers slowed down as they drove past the helicopter but the distraction was too much for some, with two cars becoming involved in a minor crash at the scene just north of the showgrounds turnoff.
The helicopter was owned by MI Helicopters and was conducting aerial powerline patrols for Ergon Energy when it lost power about 11am.
Pilot Chris Peall had two Ergon Energy employees on board as passengers.
Ergon Energy general manager of operations Paul Jordon said both employees and the pilot escaped without injury.
“The pilot did an excellent job to land the helicopter in a safe manner following an apparent engine failure,” Mr Jordon said.
“Emergency services, including ambulance and fire and rescue officers, attended the site.”
Mechanic James Dalecki was taking a customer's car for a test drive when he passed the downed helicopter.
He said he slowed down at the direction of another man who was trying to direct traffic.
The driver behind was also distracted and drove into the back of the car being driven by Mr Dalecki.
Neither driver was injured and the cars only had minor damage.
Several tree branches were broken as the helicopter came down.
It then reportedly landed hard along the highway, breaking the tail of the aircraft.
Maryborough fire station officer Dennis Pamenter said his crew's first priority was to make sure no one was trapped.
“They were all out of the helicopter when we arrived and no one was injured,” he said.
“There was a fuel leak so we had to isolate any ignition sources and we put a foam blanket over the fuel.”
Police diverted traffic around the crash scene for more than two hours before the helicopter was towed away.
An investigation into the incident is continuing.