A Whitehorse pilot is counting himself lucky after crash-landing in McIntyre Creek.
Both the pilot and the helicopter he was flying escaped serious injury after striking power lines Monday morning.
The power lines however, weren’t so lucky.
The Bell Jet Ranger lll sheared through thumb-thick, 12,500-volt lines, knocking out power to 600 homes.
The collision forced the pilot to make an emergency landing in the creek.
“It was tremendous skill of the pilot putting it down safely,” said Airport Fire Chief James Paterson. “I can appreciate the talent it would take.
“It’s an amazing job by the pilot.”
At the time, the helicopter was doing mosquito control work for the City of Whitehorse.
The pilot wasn’t available for comment, and because the federal Ministry of Transportation is still investigating, his employer, Carl Ziehe, the owner of Heli Dynamics, could only offer scant details of the crash.
He confirmed that the pilot was OK. “He’s been around flying for a long time. That’s why nothing happened,” said Ziehe.
The helicopter itself isn’t badly damaged, and Ziehe hopes to have it back in the air soon.
From pictures, it looks as if the helicopter struck the power lines just under the rotor.
Yukon Electric has yet to figure out how much damage was caused by the accident.
The damaged distribution lines didn’t have indicators to warn the helicopter away.
“They weren’t required because the lines weren’t high enough,” said Laura Carlson, spokesperson for Yukon Electric.
The accident happened at about 6:50 a.m. and it took about two hours to get power restored, she said.
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