Pilot Describes How He Walked Away From Harrowing Helicopter Crash in NZ

The helicopter pilot who walked away unscathed after his chopper crashed while installing Christmas decorations talked for the first time about surviving his harrowing experience.

Greg Gribble was piloting a helicopter along Aukland, New Zealand’s waterfront Wednesday to install Christmas lights, hovering just 25 feet from the ground, when suddenly the chopper’s blade struck a cable, shearing off the rotors and tossing Gribble from the cockpit.

“There was just a huge shaking and vibration,” Gribble told Television New Zealand. “But some pieces just gone everywhere and that said… it was just in a couple of seconds.”

A crowd watched the event unfold in horror, as a local television station captured the whole thing on camera. At first people ran away from the crash, then ran back in to save him.

“Brilliant, you know, nobody got hurt,” Gribble said. ”There could have been fatalities, you know?”

This morning he told Televison New Zealand that he doesn’t know how he walked away from the heap of twisted metal with only a few scratches.

“The only thing that stopped me from disappearing really is that belt,” Gribble said, referring to his seatbelt. “The belt is attached to the aircraft frame, so the floor of the aircraft,  it just flung me out and dragged me back in, and I’ve been thrown into the back of the machine.”

Remarkably, even after the trauma of the crash, Gribble said he is eager to get back to work.

“Might sound a bit stange but lets say, it has not actually phased me,” he said. “I look at the footage and I should be phased But I’m not… not at all.”