Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Family 'elated' at helicopter's safe emergency landing despite tail loss

pilot Image copyright Charlotte Cwajna
Image caption The pilot's quick reactions had saved those on board, the charter helicopter firm said

A mother and her seven-year-old child have escaped unhurt after the tourist helicopter they were flying in snapped off its tail in an emergency landing.

Charlotte Cwajna and her son Harrison, from Fleet in Hampshire, were sightseeing in Florida, when the aircraft lost power at 600ft (180m).

Ms Cwajna said: "There was a clunk and we dropped in the sky."

She said the pilot, who was also uninjured, was "dripping with sweat and visibly shaken" after landing.

Image copyright Charlotte Cwajna
Image caption The helicopter landed on grass between two highways

"He saw a bit of grass in between two highways and brought it down within 30 seconds," Ms Cwajna said.

The flight above Orlando on 20 April was a treat for Harrison on the final day of a family holiday.

Harrison said: "I knew something was wrong. Lights started to flash. The helicopter was slowly going down. It was scary."

Ms Cwajna said they were in a "state of elation" after getting out of the helicopter and inspecting the damage.

Air Florida Helicopters Charters said the pilot's "professional skills and fact action" had saved those on board.

An investigation is under way into the cause of the emergency.

Image copyright Charlotte Cwajna
Image caption Ms Cwajna said they were in a "state of elation" after exiting the helicopter