24 Nov 2011

'Lucky' pilot eager to get back to chopper

5:50 pm on 24 November 2011

The pilot who survived a dramatic helicopter crash at Auckland's waterfront says he is lucky to be alive, but plans to be up in the air again soon.

The US$1.4 million helicopter plummeted to the ground on Wednesday during an operation to erect a giant christmas tree at the Viaduct Basin.

The pilot, who also owns the helicopter, Greg Gribble, walked away with only minor injuries.

On Thursday he was back at his company's hangar with his most serious injury a small cut to one finger.

Mr Gribble says the crash happened so quickly it feels as if it was a dream.

"It was just like - bang - and the next thing I had a couple of guys undoing my belt and dragging me out."

Mr Gribble says he was very grateful no one else was hurt in the incident. "That's the main thing," he says.

He believes he knows what caused the crash but doesn't want to talk about it until his own, and Civil Aviation's, investigations are complete.

Mr Gribble says he put a lot of work into preparing for the erection of the tree and it should have been a simple exercise.