A helicopter has narrowly avoided crashing into a lighthouse in Brittany after the craft suddenly lost altitude and began plummeting to the rocks below, before the pilot managed to regain control.
The near-incident happened near the Pointe-du-Raz, close to La Vieille lighthouse, in Finistère.
One person was injured; a worker from lighthouse service Phares et Balises. He was taken to hospital in Brest by a Sécurité civile Dragon 29 helicopter.
Footage from a camera pointed at the lighthouse captured the events, showing the aircraft suddenly spinning and diving dangerously.
The pilot managed to right the aircraft quickly, avoiding a crash.
Florian Quiguer, head of the CGT union at Phares et Balises, told France 3 that the hospitalised man “was very afraid”.
He said: “He explained to me that the accident occurred when the helicopter was removing one of the frames from the lighthouse's lantern. [The injured man] was on the walkway.
“The helicopter lifted the load vertically, became unbalanced and the pilot lost control. The load caught my colleague against the wall and that's why he was injured.”
The helicopter was recovering equipment from the lighthouse where structural work is taking place. The work is being supervised by the Direction interrégionale de la mer Nord-Atlantique Manche Ouest (Dir Namo) and insured by Phares et Balises.
When material cannot be transported by ship or road, it is taken by helicopter. This was an aircraft from the Mont-Blanc-Hélicoptères Bretagne company.
An inquiry has now been opened to determine the cause of the near-miss crash in a bid to avoid a similar situation – or worse – from happening again.