The best save of Players Championship week may have taken place on Wednesday evening on the sister course at TPC Sawgrass.
A St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office helicopter suffered catastrophic engine failure while patrolling the traffic around The Players Championship on Wednesday evening, forcing the pilot to make an emergency crash landing on the 17th fairway of the Dye’s Valley Course at TPC Sawgrass.
Hovering at roughly 1,100 feet, the pilot was forced to attempt to avoid power lines and use a technique known as autorotation in which the pilot rotates the helicopter down to the ground using the lift that is produced by the rotator blades even after engine failure.
“Probably around two to three minutes, he was landing the bird with no power,” Undersheriff Matt Clint told News4Jax.com. “He had to fly this helicopter over a bunch of power lines that are probably almost 100 feet in the air. He had to clear those then clear an oak tree and then bring it in on autorotation right onto the fairway.”
Neither the pilot nor the co-pilot were seriously injured in the emergency landing, and there were no golfers on the Valley Course at the time of the landing due to the tournament taking place next door at the Stadium Course.
A truck removed the helicopter from the Dye Course on Wednesday night. Officials are looking into the reason for the engine failure.