No-one hurt as Police helicopter crashes through roof

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The Independent Online

A police helicopter spun out of the sky on Friday night and crashed through the roof of a house. Witnesses said the aircraft's engines cut out moments before it plummeted on to the two-storey semi-detached house in a quiet suburb of Cardiff, shattering the roof and sending debris flying.

A police helicopter spun out of the sky on Friday night and crashed through the roof of a house. Witnesses said the aircraft's engines cut out moments before it plummeted on to the two-storey semi-detached house in a quiet suburb of Cardiff, shattering the roof and sending debris flying.

Police said the three crew members were taken to hospital but were not hurt in the incident. The occupants of the house, who were watching television at the time, also escaped unscathed. They were named locally as Diane and Colin Patterson.

Joe Rogers, 23, who was in the house two doors down, said: "My girlfriend saw the helicopter jiggling around in the sky. It was going side to side, up and down, and spinning. She was screaming at me 'It's going to crash'. I told her not to be silly but then we heard the engine just die and it began to drop out of the sky. The wind was knocking the roof tiles and they were flying all over the place. When we got out we looked up at the neighbours' house and the helicopter had gone straight through the roof. It had sort of buckled on the apex and doubled over. There was complete devastation. In our garden there were roof tiles lying there smoking."

Neighbour Mike Clemett, 59, said: "I was in my back garden and could see that the helicopter was flying very low. The helicopter lights were blazing and it was hovering very low. It then veered to the left and the tail rotor seemed to stop. It just crashed into the roof and demolished it. It was the most terrifying thing I have ever seen. The family of the house were in the living-room at the time but they managed to get out safely."

Last week the same helicopter had to make an emergency landing after a warning light on the controls indicated a fire. But after landing the crew found no problems.

About 50 people were moved from the area and taken to a local hotel as a precaution. A spokeswoman could not confirm at this stage whether the helicopter had crashed but said: "All I know is, it came down."

A spokesman for Glamorgan South Fire Service praised the helicopter crew. He said: "It appears that the helicopter pilot did an excellent job bringing it down as he did. The aircraft had some kind of controlled descent although it has come down with a bump. It's gone through the roof and it's sitting on top of the building."

He said residents had been evacuated as a precaution, and that firefighters would stay at the scene overnight, until the Air Accident Bureau arrived to investigate tomorrow morning. Up to 25 firefighters were involved in the rescue, but most would be leaving as the situation had stabilised, he added.

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