Images: Fire and Rescue NSW
Four people including a three-year-old child have been winched to safety after a helicopter crash landed in bushland near Sydney.
The chopper was forced to make an emergency landing in the Royal National Park about 30km south of Sydney.
The four people onboard — all of them related to the pilot — miraculously walked away with only minor cuts and abrasions.
Rescue helicopter spokesman Steve Leahy said the chopper had been flying off the coast of southern Sydney just after 10am when its engine malfunctioned.
The pilot managed to get the helicopter back to land and made an emergency landing in thick scrub, about 1km from Jibbon Beach.
Leahy said the chopper was “pretty much covered by that thick scrub”, and that a rescue officer “had to crawl on hands and knees” to get to it.
The pilots cool-headed thinking and skill was praised as the reason the crash didn’t have a worse outcome.
“The pilot’s just done an incredible job,” Leahy said.
“The worst-case scenario is there’s potential, if the pilot had been inexperienced, that the helicopter could have crashed into the ocean.
“It could have been a fatal accident ... however, this pilot has shown amazing skill and been able to save the lives of everyone onboard.”