Damaged helicopter lands safely after sent to rescue man in La'ie tower
The Honolulu Fire Departments Air Rescue 1 landed safely at Honolulu Airport at about 1 p.m. after losing its left landing gear when it made a "hard landing" at La'ie to help rescue an apparent stroke victim.
The department's only helicopter returned to the air after falling about 10 to 20 feet and headed for the airport. There it hovered over maintenance workers who placed jacks under the broken left strut and the tail as they worked just a few feet away from the whirling chopper blades.
Once the jacks were in place, the blades slowed down as the chopper landed safely.
The only person aboard the chopper was Steve Aiu, the senior fire department pilot, who was not injured.
The stricken man on the tower was one of two men working on a cellphone antenna when he lost feeling in parts of his body, said Honolulu Fire Department spokesman Capt. Richard Soo.
Rescue crews along with the Air 1 helicopter responded to the 11:30 a.m. "high angle rescue" call at the intersection of Kamehameha Highway and Poohaili Street, near the La'ie wastewater treatment plant, Soo said.
The man was halfway up the antenna, about 40 feet above the ground, Soo said. Rescue crews donned their "fall protection" gear to rescue the man, Soo said.
The victim was brought down to the ground and transported by ambulance. His condition was not immediately known.