Heroes praised in Monchique heli-disaster report
Monchique woodmen who rushed to the aid of the crew flying in a helicopter that crashed in Marmelete just before Christmas have been hailed as heroes. Their bravery and quick thinking were “fundamental” in the survival of two victims, both of whom were seriously injured.
A report by GIPAA, the authority that investigates air accidents, said the three men’s actions were “worthy of recognition”, particularly as they managed to wrestle the victims to safety “with some difficulty and fear of fire” that had started to engulf the downed aircraft.
Talking to Correio da Manhã shortly after the accident, two of the woodmen, José Manuel Duarte and Márcio Medina, said they “didn’t think twice” before rushing in to help. “We looked after the victims until INEM and the firemen arrived,” said Medina.
The accident, which happened just after lunch on December 18 in the Vale de Água de Cima area, caused the death of another passenger, EDP worker Baltazar Vieira.
GIPAA’s report confirms the helicopter was “inspecting medium tension power cables” for EDP when it accidentally hit three high tension cables, “which hadn’t been seen by either the pilot or the other front seat passenger”.
The cables were instantly severed and the helicopter suffered “severe damage” which saw it spiral out of control and crash into nearby trees.
Contact with the ground was “violent”, said the report – with both the tail and rotor blades breaking off. The main part of the rotor then fell into the cabin.
The pilot, Pedro Carriço, working for Heliportugal, had to have his foot and part of his leg amputated as a result of his injuries, reports Jornal de Notícias.