Pilot falls to death from helicopter during parachute demo

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(Phocalmedia)


It was a parachute demonstration that went awry and took a fatal turn.

A parachute-less pilot plunged to his death from his army helicopter during a regiment open day demonstration in Belgium, reports The Telegraph.

A frantic search for his body was launched. A 50-member team combed the wooded Tihange area and could find the body only after 24 hours. Dogs, divers and a helicopter with thermal imaging equipment carried out the long operation.

The co-pilot of the Agusta A109 helicopter told authorities that he was looking out of the window to ensure three paratroopers taking part in Sunday’sdemonstration had landed safely and avoided nearby power lines, the report says.

However, when he looked back, he found his colleague (the pilot) was not in his seat while the helicopter door was open. The copter nose had begun to lurch forward. The co-pilot took the command, righted and landed the helicopter and raised the alarm, the report adds.

Did the pilot fell off accidentally or did he jump by opening the door? It will take time to unravel the circumstances in which the pilot died. A probe into the tragedy has been initiated. The helicopter was flying at more than 1,300 metres at the time of the accident, the Belgian media has reported.

Police forensic teams have collected evidence and a forensic pathologist will carry out an autopsy – whose results would be out soon.

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