It was reported today (9th August) that a helicopter – an AS-350 B3 Ecureil – made an emergency landing after fighting a  fire in Valencia. The aircraft was en-route to Ponte da Barca, where it was based.

While flying over the Ponte de Lima municipality, it had a problem (yet to be identified) and as a result the pilot made an emergency landing at Lapa, Refoios parish of Lima.

The helicopter was carrying the pilot and five people reportedly to be GNR elements to combat fires. Two of the six occupants suffered minor injuries.

Two of the injured were assisted on site by the National Institute for Medical Emergencies (INEM).  The remaining passengers were transported overland to ULSAM of Viana do Castelo for observation.

The private aviation company Everjets responsible for the aircraft, has announced it will open “immediately” an investigation to ascertain the causes of the incident.

The accident represents an additional set back in air borne firefighting for forest fires this year. The most critical period of the fires from July to the end of September, began with three less heavy Kamov helicopters. Two have since been repaired