McCartney avoids disaster after pilot loses control of helicopter

Paul McCartney narrowly avoided a potentially-fatal crash when the pilot of his helicopter became "disorientated" in bad weather.

The Beatles legend and his wife Nancy Shevell were just two feet away from disaster as the helicopter plunged towards trees, but fortunately the pilot dramatically lifted the chartered Sikorsky S-76C away at the last minute.

The drama happened as the aircraft attempted to land at night on a helipad at Paul's East Sussex estate and the helicopter eventually touched down safely after diverting to a nearby airport.

The couple were said to be unaware of how close they came to crashing but the near miss is being investigated by the Department of Transport.

According to The Mail on Sunday newspaper, the Air Accidents Investigation Branch has categorised the episode - which occurred on May 3 - as a "serious incident", which it defines as "involving circumstances indicating that an accident nearly occurred".

The report also reveals flying conditions that night included "low cloudbase, poor visibility and rain".

Despite this, the pilot went ahead and prepared to land on Pauls's helipad, which is in the corner of a field encircled by woodland.

It added: "While manoeuvring, the commander became disorientated and the helicopter descended towards tops of trees in the forested area to the south and west of the landing site."

The pilot then "executed a go-around" or aborted landing.

Peter Norton, chief executive of the British Helicopter Association, said: "He [the pilot] was going to land and realised he wasn't in control of the aircraft because of the weather conditions and visibility; he pulled in lots of power to climb away and correct the aircraft to its proper flightpath and missed whatever it was by two feet."

Paul's spokesman said: "Paul has been spoken to. It has been put to him, everything. It's a no comment."

Email Updates

Receive our lunchtime briefing straight to your inbox

More in this Section

Peter Capaldi would like to travel back in time for David Bowie concert and moon landing

Gogglebox's Scarlett Moffatt back to watching TV hours after I'm A Celebrity win

La La Land is an escape for cinema audiences, says Ryan Gosling

Christopher Eccleston: Peter Vaughan 'gladiatorial as an actor'


Lifestyle

Full disclosure in Oliver Stone's new film about CIA whistleblower Edward Snowden

What to buy for the most awkward people in your life this Christmas

Children's hospice makes sure families experience a truly precious Christmas

Making Cents: PCPs are the deals for those looking for new wheels

More From The Irish Examiner