Brazilian helicopter accident captured by security camera

By Jackson Flores Jr

All but one of the occupants of an AgustaWestland A109C survived a crash near São Paulo, Brazil in which the aircraft suddenly entered a high-rate descent during its final approach to land. But the helicopter's owner, businessman Gilberto Ramalho, was unable to escape before the machine caught fire.

The helicopter (PT-YFP) departed mid-afternoon on 5 January from the coastal resort town of Parati with a crew of two pilots and four passengers, heading for Ramalho's farm in Itupeva, São Paulo, 240km (130nm) to the west.

A security camera covering the entrance to the main yard at the farm captured the final seconds of the flight as the crew were attempting to fly the helicopter to the helipad. Trailing smoke from the exhaust area of at least one of its twin engines, the aircraft hit the ground just short of the helipad with no visible attempt to flare. Three passengers escaped quickly with minor injuries before fire began to take hold, but the pilot and co-pilot were seriously burned as they made their escape.

© Reed Business Information 2009

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