RUIDOSO, N.M (KOAT) — A crazy video shows a helicopter making a difficult landing at a New Mexico ski resort.
What we know so far is that someone was hurt at Ski Apache, which is why the medical helicopter was called.
Investigators said the chopper pilot was not hurt during the hard landing.
But it is easy to see that things could have been much worse.
Pete Hildebrand was there with a plan to go zip lining.
But, instead, he ended up capturing the landing on camera.
The video shows the helicopter attempting to land on the top of a hill. It hits hard, bounces up and starts sliding down a hill.
Hildebrand said everyone just froze, not knowing what was going to happen next.
“I thought that helicopter was going to tip over and hit the rotors and we were all going to have to duck,” Hildebrand said.
Fortunately, the chopper did not roll over, but Hildebrand said it was too damaged to take off again.
KOAT Sky 7 pilot Neal Lawson looked at the video and talked about where he thinks things may have started to go wrong.
“As he came in on his final approach, he just seemed to be descending a lot more quickly than I’ve seen other people do at that altitude,” Lawson said.
The base of Ski Apache is more than 9,000 feet high.
“High altitude and hot temperatures both make the air thinner. That’s going to reduce the amount of lift you get out of your blades, and it’s going to require more power to maintain your altitude,” Lawson said.
Lawson said that the thin air can make it harder to slow down when landing.
“He may simply have not had enough power available to maintain enough lift to slow him down,” Lawson said.
Lawson said after the initial hard landing, he believes the pilot did everything right to keep the chopper from flipping over and crashing.
“He kept control of the aircraft at that point, got the aircraft settled down level and sat back down on the ground in a controlled manner,” Lawson said.
Federal Aviation Administration officials said the pilot didn’t hit a cable. He instead took evasive action to avoid hitting a cable, resulting in the hard landing.
We contacted the Trans Aero MedEvac, the company that owns the chopper, but have not heard back.
The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office said the man who needed the chopper fell from a distance of about 15 feet, but did not name the structure or surface from which he fell.
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