Kite String Causes Helicopter to Make Emergency Landing

DENPASAR ~ An Air Bali helicopter with two American and two Indonesian passengers on board became entangled in the string of a kite as it flew across Denpasar on Saturday and was forced to make an emergency landing at a junior high school in the city.

The passengers and pilot were not injured.

The Bell helicopter, which took off around 8:30am and was piloted by Captain Gangsar, could be seen from the school, SMPN 2 Gunung Agung, where it made the unscheduled landing.

A spokesperson for Air Bali said the helicopter was safe to fly and that no damage had been caused to the craft.

Haris Santoso, an engineer checking the condition of the helicopter, explained that the strings of the kite had become tangled at the top of the control propeller.

“Luckily, there was not any damage and the helicopter is airworthy,” he said.

Air Bali operations staffer Nyoman Sena praised the steps taken by Captain Gangsar, saying the pilot skillfully managed to save passengers and crew in the emergency situation.

National Transport Safety Commission chief Tatang Kurniadi agreed, adding that he hoped, for the sake of guarding the safety of air transportation in Bali, people would not fly kites too high, as it could lead to dangerous situations for airplanes.

“The majority of tourists arrive by air. We ask that citizens do not fly kites too high into the sky,” he said.

In recent years the authorities have repeatedly warned Balinese to stop flying kites near flights zones such as the airport, or too high, during the kite-flying season, which is currently underway. However, violations persist.

Helicopter firms have voiced concern about the type of string used to fly the kites – often strong fishing line – many of which can be as large as a car.

A second Air Bali Bell helicopter was involved in another incident last month, when its engine apparently cut out as it was in the air, forcing it to make an emergency landing on Lebih Beach in Gianyar. None of the passengers or crew were injured either, although the craft did suffer some damage.

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