Miracle escape for merchant in helicopter crash
Published:  13 January, 2012

SALISBURY: Ian Sutton, branch manager of Sydenhams builders merchants, in Hawthorn Grove, survived unscathed a helicopter crash this week.

He, along with waste site owner Andy Ridings, and nightclub owner Mike Rosser were able to pull themselves free of the wreckage after the accident near Salisbury this week.

The trio had just finished a business meeting at Salisbury's Churchfields Industrial Estate on Tuesday morning and were taking off to make their way back to Bath when the helicopter's engine failed.

Mr Ridings, who runs Waste Recycling@Bath in Odd Down, was at the controls of the helicopter and said he did everything he could to land it as safely as possible.

"We were lifting off when the engine just lost power.  When the engine loses power at such a critical point of flight your options are extremely limited," he said.

"As we began to sink I basically required more power.  All I could do was make a couple of quick decisions, the river or the woods.  The river wasn't an option so I went for the woods."

The helicopter crashed into the woods from a height of around 60ft, but miraculously all three men suffered only relatively minor injuries.

Mr Ridings and Mr Rosser, who suffered broken ribs, were taken to Southampton General Hospital by air ambulance as a precaution because paramedics were worried they could have neck or head injuries.

Mr Sutton was taken to Salisbury District Hospital by ambulance for treatment for a suspected dislocated ankle.

The cause of the crash is not yet known.  An inquiry by the Air Accident Investigation Branch is under way.

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