LEBIH BEACH, Gianyar ~ A sightseeing helicopter operated by local firm Air Bali crash-landed on Lebih Beach in Gianyar Regency on Wednesday afternoon with four American passengers on board, but no one was injured, police said.
The Bell helicopter experienced engine failure mid-flight and the pilot decided to make an emergency landing, an Air Bali spokesperson told The Bali Times.
The passengers and crew were unhurt but shaken by the accident, Bali Police spokesman Antonious Reniban told reporters.
However, the tail section of the aircraft was badly damaged, a Times photographer at the scene said. Witnesses said they saw parts of the tail fall off before the helicopter made its emergency landing, Reniban said.
â€œAccording to a number of witnesses, including the passengers, the engine suddenly died and the pilot attempted an emergency landing. Witnesses also said that they saw the tail part of the helicopter break before it landed,” he said.
Air Bali, which operated the craft and also has several light aircraft, said the flight left Ngurah Rai International Airport at 10am on Wednesday and that the accident occurred at midday as it was on its way back to the airport.
The company told The Times that the helicopter is owned by a firm in Jakarta, Derazona Air. The helicopter was used to take tourists on sightseeing trips to popular tourist sites around Bali and its surrounding islands, as well as to ferry arriving passengers to their hotels.
Police said they were investigating the accident.