Helicopter makes hard landing on Fort Lauderdale street

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - A utility helicopter made a rough landing on a downtown street in Fort Lauderdale, Wednesday.

Fort Lauderdale Police and Fire Rescue responded to the scene on 350 SE 2nd St., during rush hour.

“You knew it was serious because [first responders] were going, they were booking,” said witness Corey Shearer.

Southeast Second Street was closed off well into the evening as investigators took the helicopter apart to determine what caused it to come down.

Cellphone cameras captured the moments after the helicopter touched down on the street.

“I was driving from this cross,” said witness Greg Doroshenko.

Doroshenko was heading down Southeast Second Street toward Third Avenue when the helicopter came down from the sky, around 5 p.m.

“Just in front of my car, this helicopter started landing in front of me, but I understand it’s landing too fast,” he said. “Thank God. God’s mercy saved everyone.”

A pilot and student were on board. A man believed to be the pilot remained on the scene with police officers.

Officials said the Schweizer 300 helicopter had lifted off from a helicopter pad just blocks away before it was forced to make a hard landing in the middle of the street.

“Some problems with the engine,” said the student.

The pilot then maneuvered the aircraft between two tall buildings. The force of the landing was so strong that the tail rotor had broken off. The rotor was found yards away.

“It was a normal landing, normal but hard,” said the student. “I’m fine, good.”

Several cellphones recorded the aftermath of the landing. In one video, the chopper’s blades could be seen banging against an SUV.

A woman could be seen dragging the tail rotor out of the street and onto a sidewalk.

Southeast Second Street was closed off well into the evening as investigators took the helicopter apart, to piece together what caused it to come down.

No injuries have been reported.

Officials said the cause for the emergency landing remains under investigation.

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