Tue, May 26, 2009
Helicopter Hurricane Unexpectedly Disrupts Memorial Day
Ya know the guest that everyone
looks forward to, because he or she is SO entertaining? Well, in
the case of an appearance by an US Coast Guard Rescue Helo, some
parade-goers got more excitement than they hoped for. Three people,
two of them children, were injured when the rotor wash from a
helicopter flyover broke tree limbs during Saturday's Morris
Plains, NJ Memorial day Parade. A 4th person was injured by runaway
horses in an unrelated incident.
Police said a Coast Guard HH-65 Dauphin helicopter made a low
pass over the parade route, causing the damage. FAA regs would
normally allow some operations below 500 feet when it poses no
danger to those on the ground and no overflight of an open-air
assemblage (though those rules don't apply to government
operations). The overflight had been requested by parade
organizers, and a Coast Guard Spokesman said that they do not
normally operate at such a low altitude.
This is the first aviation-related incident at the parade, but
not the first time there have been problems. The Morris Plains
Daily Record indicated that last year, a bear wandered into the
crowd, but it was more frightened by the people than they were of
Hmmm... if you have to deal with unexpected issues, we'll take
helo problems over bear troubles, anytime.
Despite the helicopter incident and the runaway horses ...
parade organizers told reporters that the event "went
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