Adam Delmage, 23, said he was hanging outside the chopper, flown by experienced pilot Paul Debenham, filming a truck rollover about 11am in the Swan Valley when ''the engine just quit''. He is understood to have told colleagues that he doesn't want to fly again.
``We started going down and just basically I was filming it so I had to push myself back into the cabin, and just brace myself,'' Mr Delmage told Ten News.
``I just kind of climbed to the top, tried to jump out but the harness was still on so I ripped the cord and jumped out the chopper and I just laid there for a sec and looked up and saw the tail was up one end, the chopper was on its side - and I thought the pilot was dead... I didn't know whether to run back and help him out. I didn't know if it was going to go up in flames.''
But the young cameraman, who was treated for a sore back at Royal Perth Hospital before being discharged yesterday afternoon, said it was lucky he had just recently completed compulsory training.
``I just thought I'm going to survive this - this is not the day,'' he said. ``If I hadn't have done the course, and it wasn't so fresh (in my mind), I just wouldn't have thought to do that but I knew that I had to brace myself.''
Mr Debenham was treated for shock.
Department of Fire and Emergency Services Swan District acting officer Jason Welsh said the men were lucky to walk away.
Firefighters were already on the scene to assist with the truck rollover, which occurred about 9.30am. The truck driver was flown to RPH, where he was in a stable condition with broken bones and lacerations.
Mr Welsh said it appeared the pilot had taken the right action and it was lucky emergency services were there.
Heliwest co-founder David Grimes said he was ``beyond relieved'' the pair walked away. He paid tribute to Mr Debenham for ``being able to pull off an emergency landing in extremely difficult terrain''.
``He is a grade one instructor with more than 40 years experience,'' he said. ``There is now an investigative process that takes place under the jurisdiction of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau. We'll do what's required to ensure all the questions are answered.''
He said it was the first crash in Heliwest's 21-year history..
In: Regional News, WTF
Tags: crash, helicopter, news, australia
Location: Perth, Western Australia, Australia (load item map)
Marked as: featured
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