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Helicopter passenger recalls emergency landing

Birthday celebrations aboard a tour helicopter go awry — and end safely — but with more excitement than passengers bargained for. 

A helicopter made an emergency landing Thursday (30 August) at the Owen Roberts International Airport. 

It closed the runway temporarily but ended without any injuries

It was a trip that started out innocently enough for Nicola Holdsworth and her family. 

“It was my son, Baker‘s, 10th birthday and my husband had booked us a surprise helicopter ride for his birthday.

“The kids were really excited, they loved it.”

When it came time to end the family celebration, that’s when things got a bit choppy. 

“We only noticed that something was wrong when we came back to land at the helicopter place,” Ms. Holdsworth said. “We came in to land and then we came back up again and the pilot said that there was a problem with the tail rotor.”

So Cayman Islands Helicopter Owner and pilot Jerome Begot took the chopper to the airport, where he said it would be safer to land. An emergency landing was declared. 

“Yeah, I’m not gonna lie, I was afraid for sure,” Ms. Holdsworth said. “When we got to the airport and did the first landing attempt and couldn’t do it and we circled back, my kids were in the front and I’m sitting next to my husband, I definitely… I was afraid.”

She said her family is thankful for Mr. Begot’s help. 

“He was super calm, really professional,” she said. “And he just said we’re going to go down. We’re going to get it on the ground. And then he just forced it down on the ground. No injuries. Obviously we came in and skidded a little bit on the tarmac but he forced us over on the grass and we were down. We were down. He did it.”

As for getting back up in the air? 

“I don’t want the kids to be afraid to fly,” Ms. Holdsworth said. “So we probably should get back in a helicopter at some point but probably not today.”


Cayman 27’s Kevin Morales has the story. 

About the author

Kevin Morales

Kevin Morales

Cayman 27 News Director Kevin Morales is an award-winning journalist with more than 12 years of experience. Kevin is a Milwaukee, Wis., native. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in journalism in 2005 from the University of Minnesota. He's a proud father and a loyal fan of the Green Bay Packers, Milwaukee Brewers, Milwaukee Bucks and U of M Golden Gophers.

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