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Television Broadcasts (TVB)

Hong Kong media mogul escapes unharmed from Norway helicopter crash

Details emerge in accident report from incident last week, revealing TVB chairman Charles Chan Kwok-keung as one of the passengers

PUBLISHED : Friday, 19 May, 2017, 5:29pm
UPDATED : Friday, 19 May, 2017, 11:18pm

TVB chairman Charles Chan Kwok-keung cheated death, escaping only with minor injuries after his helicopter crashed into the water while trying to land on a luxury yacht in Norway last week.

The involvement of the TVB boss was only recently revealed despite the accident occurring on May 10.

He has since returned to Hong Kong, sources told the Post.

The media mogul was with another passenger and a pilot inside the helicopter when it crashed in the fjord outside Bergen harbour, located on the southwestern coast of the country.

The helicopter had attempted to land on the luxury superyacht Bacarella, according to Norway’s air accident investigation board.

The pilot lost control, and the helicopter spun around and fell backwards into the sea after its main rotor blade became entangled with loose material on the helipad, according to the official account of the accident.

The quick thinking of the pilot prevented the helicopter from sinking after he activated the aircraft’s floatation mechanism, and a nearby boat from Norway’s sea rescue agency arrived for a search and salvage mission.

According to London newspaper Evening Standard, British pilot Quentin Smith was able to scramble free from the helicopter but returned to activate floats to stop it from sinking with his passengers inside.

The pilot dived underwater to rescue Chan and another passenger named David Tang. Tang was able to swim to the surface, leaving Smith to pull Chan out from the craft in a dramatic escape.

The accident happened at 10pm but in near daylight, due to Bergen’s location, with sunset occurring in the late evening at this time of year. This made the rescue mission easier.

Chan, 62, and Smith, 52, were not seriously injured. Tang, 57, is in a critical but stable condition in a Norwegian hospital, according to his family. The British media reported that the father of six inhaled toxic fumes from the damaged helicopter.

Pictures of the wrecked aircraft as it was pulled from the water showed that its tail had snapped off and was hanging loosely, tangled among rotor blades.

The inflated yellow floats, which stopped the helicopter from sinking, were also visible.

The luxury 60-metre superyacht Bacarella, worth about US$30 million (HK$234 million) in 2014, did not appear to be damaged in the incident.

TVB declined to comment on the matter.

The Norwegian Accident Investigation Board said an investigation was under way.