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Small helicopter crashes in downtown Honolulu

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Honolulu firefighters look over the wreckage of a small helicopter that crashed next to a car near the intersection of Fort Street and Beretania Street in downtown Honolulu Wednesday, May 8, 2013. Honolulu firefighters look over the wreckage of a small helicopter that crashed next to a car near the intersection of Fort Street and Beretania Street in downtown Honolulu Wednesday, May 8, 2013. Image source: Associated Press

   HONOLULU (AP) — A small helicopter lost power and came crashing down on a busy downtown Honolulu street Wednesday afternoon, but no one was seriously injured, authorities said.

   "It's a pretty miraculous situation that no one was badly hurt by this," said Capt. Terry Seelig, a spokesman for the Honolulu Fire Department. "This is a pretty busy area."

   The helicopter was on a photography flight when it lost power, forcing a crash landing on Fort Street, which is home to a large apartment complex and Hawaii Pacific University. The area is usually full of university students and downtown office workers, and has a lot of vehicle and pedestrian traffic.

   The chopper ended up along a curb, badly damaging a parked car, Seelig said. A fire station is also on that street, so firefighters who heard the crash ran out to help.

   The pilot, Julia Link, told KITV everything seemed normal until all of the sudden it got quiet and the engine quit. Repeatedly training for this type of scenario helped her bring the helicopter to the ground, she said.

   "First I thought it was a joke and then, I was like 'Oh my God, this is for real," said the 30-year-old.

   She was grateful the problems developed when the aircraft — which she said was brand new — was 3,000 feet above ground as that gave her a lot of time to plan their descent.

   Link said she's glad everyone walked away alive and no one was seriously hurt.

   The 71 year old male passenger was treated at the scene for minor injuries to his head, Honolulu Emergency Services spokeswoman Shayne Enright said.

   The chopper was operated by Mauna Loa Helicopters. Representatives of the company couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

   Preliminary information indicates the Robinson R22 Beta had an engine failure, said Allen Kenitzer, spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration.

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