Sir Paul McCartney and his wife, Nancy Shavell, narrowly avoided a disastrous helicopter crash when the pilot flying their helicopter became disoriented during a flight earlier this year.
According to the Huffington Post, on May 3, the former Beatles icon, 70, and his wife, 52, were on their way back home to East Sussex, England when their chartered Sikorsky S-76C suddenly began falling towards trees as their pilot attempted to land the helicopter on the McCartney’s helipad.
According to The Daily Mail, the helicopter’s minimum altitude, based from its altimeter, was two feet. This meant that the helicopter was two feet away from a fixed point; that point is assumed to be the tree tops.
McCartney and his wife avoided a fatal crash when the pilot was suddenly able to pull the aircraft away from the tree tops and then touch down safely at a nearby airport.
The near crash is now being investigated by the UK’s Department of Transport and has been categorized as a “serious incident” by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch.
According to the government report, the flying conditions that the pilot had to fly through included “low cloud base, poor visibility and rain.”
According to the AAIB report, “while maneuvering, 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.
When asked about the avoiding the crash, a rep for McCartney said, “Paul has been spoken to. It has been put to him, everything. It’s a no comment.’