KEY BISCAYNE (CBSMiami) – A Coast Guard helicopter was forced to put down on the beach at key Biscayne’s Bill Baggs State Park Thursday after colliding with another flying object, a seagull.
While on routine patrol, the chopper hit the bird head on, striking it squarely on the windshield in the pilots face.
The collision forced the emergency landing on the beach. It was by the book, their commander said.
“They realized they had some potential damage to the helicopter, and they found the closest, safe place to land, which happened to be Key Biscayne beach,” said Captain Michael Platt, commander of Coast Guard Station Opa Locka.
“This crew did, in fact, maintain aircraft control, analyze the situation and took appropriate action, which is what our procedures tell us to do,” Platt said.
A family visiting from Denver watched the chopper’s picture perfect landing.
“It’s not every day you see a helicopter land on the beach,“ said Brendon Gaul.
The helicopter carried two pilots, a rescue swimmer and a flight mechanic, which was a good thing.
“There was a mechanic on board who was able to conduct a thorough inspection after the collision with the bird,” said Capt. Platt.
After it was determined the helicopter had suffered only cosmetic damage, it was cleared to lift off, its crew returning to homebase at Opa Locka.