Monchique helicopter crash pilot loses foot

Monchique helicopter crash pilot loses foot

As details emerged on the causes behind yesterday’s (December 18) helicopter crash in Monchique, news comes that the pilot has had to have a foot amputated.

Pedro Carriço, 29, had to be cut from the wreckage after the helicopter he was flying came down among eucalyptus trees near Marmelete, causing the instant death of EDP worker Baltazar Vieira, of Alhos Vedros, and seriously injuring his colleague Joaquim Cipriano.

Correio da Manhã newspaper is running a dramatic report this morning describing how Carriço – employed by HeliPortugal and flying EDP technicians on routine inspections – “was trapped by his seatbelt and shouting for help so that he wasn’t left to die”.

The new helicopter – bought specifically to enable work on medium and high-tension cables – was “starting to burn” with Carriço trapped inside, but thanks to heroic efforts by volunteer fireman Márcio Medina, the young pilot was dragged to safety in time.

“I didn’t think twice,” Medina told Correio da Manhã. “I went in and pulled the pilot from the wreckage. One of the victims was already dead and the other was lying on the ground.”

Medina, by coincidence, was in the area loading wood with colleagues. He told Correio da Manhã that the helicopter “collided with electric cables, started to spin and then fell like a stone”.

Pedro Carriço was transported from the scene by ambulance and then airlifted by Kamov helicopter to Lisbon’s Santa Maria hospital where, the newspaper reports, he had to have a foot amputated. He is also suffering from “various fractures”.

The other survivor, Joaquim Cipriano, is described as being in his 30s and seriously injured. Cipriano was “projected” from the helicopter as it came down in the isolated spot known as Vale da Água.

The “Gabinete de Prevenções e Investigação de Acidentes com Aeronaves” (office for the prevention and investigation of air accidents) is now investigating.