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Shocking moment helicopter bursts into flames after nosediving towards rocks at French lighthouse

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Shocking moment helicopter bursts into flames after suddenly nosediving towards rocks… with pilot somehow able to miraculously pull up and avoid disaster at French lighthouse

  • Helicopter has a very close call at lighthouse off France’s most westerly point
  • The Vielle Lighthouse half a mile off Pointe du Raz in the region of Finistère
  • The pilot managed to bring helicopter back under control just as death loomed 
  • One lighthouse worker was hurt but the pilot managed to escape unharmed

A helicopter pilot diced with death off the French coast Wednesday when it suddenly nose-dived towards a rocky outcrop in a flash of flames while approaching a lighthouse.

The helicopter was flying towards the Vielle Lighthouse, which is undergoing renovations, half a mile off France’s most westerly point of Pointe du Raz in the region of Finistère.

Video of the moment shows a crystal clear day with the chopper glinting in the sun as it nears the stately structure to deliver and remove equipment.

There seems to be an unexpected release from the front of the helicopter and it suddenly lurches wildly into a heart stopping ninety degree angle before diving.

It loses altitude catastrophically as the rocks close in but the pilot manages to bring it back level and avert an immediate crash.

A cloud of smoke ejects from the rotors and floods over the rocky outcrop but by this time the helicopter is gaining altitude and seems to be back under control.

The helicopter was flying half a mile off France’s most westerly point of Pointe du Raz in the region of Finistère towards the Vielle Lighthouse, which is undergoing renovations

There seems to be an unexpected release from the front of the helicopter and it suddenly lurches wildly into a heart stopping ninety degree angle before diving

There seems to be an unexpected release from the front of the helicopter and it suddenly lurches wildly into a heart stopping ninety degree angle before diving

It loses altitude catastrophically as the rocks close in but the pilot manages to bring it back level and avert an immediate crash

It loses altitude catastrophically as the rocks close in but the pilot manages to bring it back level and avert an immediate crash

A cloud of smoke ejects from the rotors and floods over the rocky outcrop but by this time the helicopter is gaining altitude and seems to be back under control

A cloud of smoke ejects from the rotors and floods over the rocky outcrop but by this time the helicopter is gaining altitude and seems to be back under control

The float on the right landing skid inflates but by this time the proximity to the sea is receding. 

The pilot was severely shaken but unhurt, while an on-site lighthouse employee working on the maintenance was hit by a crate , France Bleu report.

He was taken to Cavale Blanche hospital in Brest and released on Thursday afternoon.

The cause of the sudden near-death malfunction is not known, with social media users speculating that the helicopter might have encountered wine shear, which is described as a sudden change in wind speed and/or direction over a short distance, which could have dragged the nose of the helicopter to pitch downwards.

Others speculated that the helicopter was carrying equipment by a cable, and the rear capable snapped, causing the end of the helicopter to rise suddenly. 

Either way, they put the aversion of a fatal accident down to the skill and quick reflexes of the pilot. 

Mont Blanc Hélicoptères Bretagne, which operates the helicopter, have opened an investigation, while the Brest BGTA, the Air Transport Gendarmerie Brigade has opened a judicial investigation.

Hervé Berville, Secretary of State for the Sea, also indicated the opening of an administrative investigation. 

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