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EXCLUSIVE: Chopper pilot, passenger talk about downtown landing

By Pamela Young
Published On: May 08 2013 05:24:00 PM HST

KITV's Pamela Young talks with the pilot and passenger of the helicopter that landed on Fort Street in Downtown Honolulu Wednesday afternoon in an EXCLUSIVE interview.

HONOLULU -

Pilot Julia Link, 30, and photographer Karl Hedberg, 71, have flown together before to capture aerial photography of the islands.

But this flight ended with the cameras on them.

"Everything seemed fine.  We did a photo flight. We were at 3,000 feet over Punchbowl.  Everything seemed normal with the aircraft," said Link.  "All of a sudden it got real quiet.  Engine quit.  The low RPM horn came on."

"Yup I landed in the street!" said Link.  "I was like, 'Are you going to be freaking kidding me?'  We practice this all the time.  First, I thought it was a joke.  I was like, 'Oh my God!  This is for real!'  Three-thousand feet is a lot of time to think about things."

Link called the fire department to let them know what was going on.

"I prayed before we went up and I figured, the Lord will take us down," said Hedberg.  "We came in, we were skidding.  I felt like we were at an amusement park.  But, that car got us on the final skid."

Some of the employees with Emergency Medical Services are calling her a hero because Link avoided hitting people.

"I'm actually kind of disappointed I ruined a brand new aircraft!  The landing was nice, I have to say.  I'm glad everybody walked away alive.  No one got seriously hurt," said Link.  "But, I could have done a better job."

First responders say there are very few who could have done a better job.

Click here to see more pictures from the scene.

To clarify, the aircraft was not brand new, but had just been refurbished for Mauna Loa Helicopters.

Link and Hedberg plan to go up again to finish their aerial photography assignment as soon as the Federal Aviation Administration gives the green light.

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