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WCVB’s news helicopter makes emergency landing on Boston Common

Boston television station WCVB’s Sky 5 news helicopter experienced mechanical problems while flying over the city last week and made an emergency landing on a bed of icy snow on the Boston Common. No one was hurt.

Initially, WCVB’s website reported the incident as a “hard landing,” but in the hours since the station’s description changed to “precautionary landing.” The helicopter came down about 6 p.m. on Tuesday at the corner of Charles and Beacon Streets on one of the few areas of the Boston Common that has no trees.

Police and firefighters surrounded the scene shortly after the incident. The pilot, Michael Young, and camera operator Karen Lippert (who were testing new equipment at the time) were inside but not harmed. After the landing, the chopper was standing upright with no visible damage.

“The lights went off in the chopper, and Michael Young, our pilot — he’s trained in those situations — and he wanted to make an emergency landing as quickly as he could,” said WCVB general manager Bill Fine.

The helicopter is owned by Helicopters, Inc. and operates under contract to WCVB. Helicopters, Inc. is one of the largest providers of full-service, exclusive-use ENG helicopter programs to broadcasters in the United States. The pilot is an employee of Helicopters, Inc. and the photographer is employed by WCVB.