BEVERLY, Mass. (WHDH) -
It was a hard landing for Sky7-HD Wednesday morning at Beverly Airport.
The chopper had just taken off for breaking news when it came back down onto the runway.
The helicopter that usually covers breaking news became the story and now sits in two pieces on the tarmac.
7News’ longtime chopper photographer John Thompson said it appeared to be engine failure.
"It happened so fast, like I said, it wasn't a matter of keeling over ending up on the side or anything like that. It was just really bumpy. It was a quick 90-degree swivel like this and a couple more bumps and then we were down and it was over. So that was good,” he said.
Construction crews working at the airport saw what happened.
"It was only probably 75, 100 feet off the ground and it just lost control and pretty much just dropped, you know. It was that quick,” Bob Ciampaglia said.
The tail piece of the chopper broke off on impact, not in the air.
Thompson credits quick action by the pilot for making sure both men walked away without injury.
"He immediately knew what to do and it was either go left to the one taxiway or go to the right. He tried to get to the one on the right and just about made but the skid caught the grass embankment and that kind of flipped us around but it still was a fine end to a bad situation,” Thompson said.
Helicopters Incorporated, the company that flies the chopper, says Sky7 has always been inspected on time and under manufacturer guidelines.
They are cooperating with the FAA to figure out what happened.
The pilot said he expects to be back in the air for 7News Thursday with a backup chopper and photographer John Thompson says he expects to be back up there with him.