Helicopter crashes into Hong Kong harbour

Two pilots and 11 passengers on board a helicopter travelling to the southern Chinese gambling enclave Macau survived an emergency landing into Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour minutes after takeoff today.

All 13 on board suffered light injuries, with the passengers discharged from the hospital after medical check-ups, marine police District Commander Leung Man-kon said.

The pilots executed an emergency landing after noticing a mechanical problem that created a loud noise minutes into the journey, said Leung Yu-keung, acting head of the Civil Aviation Department.

They were able to avoid a plunge into the harbour because the pilots deployed inflatable buoys before the aircraft hit the water, Leung said.

Hong Kong’s Cable TV quoted an unidentified witness as saying the helicopter fell on to the harbour at a trajectory.

Hong Kong’s radio RTHK reported on its website that operator Sky Shuttle had suspended services to inspect its fleet on the advice of the Civil Aviation Department.

The helicopter rides are a pricey alternative to the commonly used high-speed ferry service to Macau, with each one-way flight costing 2,600 Hong Kong dollars (€266) per person.

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