Margaret fire chief Tom Dixon said that firefighters responded to the scene of the chopper landing at 8:48 p.m. Wednesday. The chopper — an Omniflight aircraft responding to a shooting in Steele — was struck by a goose and landed in the parking lot at Margaret Elementary School.
None of the three in the helicopter were injured in the incident.
“Aside from bird remains all over the chopper and all over the crew, they were fine,” Dixon said.
A second helicopter was dispatched from Gadsden to the scene of the shooting.
Craig Yale, a spokesperson for Air Methods, Inc., said pilots are trained to deal with such incidents.
“Bird strikes are an occasional thing that happens with helicopters,” Yale said. “Because we fly at the same altitudes they do. The closing speed winds up being very fast. Unless it’s a really large bird, basically you’ll get a mess inside the aircraft, but not something that will bring the aircraft down.
“If you’re concerned that anything’s not perfectly normal, then you want to get the aircraft on the ground. So a precautionary landing was very appropriate, the aircraft is being inspected, they’ll replace the windshield and it will go back into service.”
The emergency landing is the second such landing to occur in Margaret this week. On Saturday, a small plane made an emergency landing near the Willow Ridge subdivision. Both the pilot and his passenger were uninjured in that incident, as well.
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