The Canadian crew of a scheduled helicopter passenger flight is being hailed for a successful emergency landing after lightning almost blew off the tail rotor of the aircraft they were flying. The Helijet Sikorsky S-76 was on its way from downtown Vancouver to Victoria, on Vancouver Island, when it was struck. The lightning took off two of the four tail rotor blades and sent the helicopter into a dive. The aircraft dropped from 4,000 feet to 1,300 feet before the crew could arrest the descent.
They were able to keep the helicopter under control and continued to their destination. It was only after landing that the pilots discovered the damaged tail rotor. The crew and passengers were checked by medics at the Victoria heliport and no injuries were reported. Helijet President Danny Sitnam said the lightning strike was “extremely rare” and one of three strikes reported in the area of Georgia Strait that day. He said the pilots were told to take as much time off as they needed before going back to work.