The Canadian Press
OTTAWA–The Canadian Forces is scrambling for answers after one of its military helicopters dropped an inflatable life raft that smashed a hole in the roof of a home in Miami.
The Griffon search-and-rescue helicopter was on a training exercise in Florida yesterday and returning to a U.S. Coast Guard air station when the uninflated raft became detached, said military spokesman David Lavallee.
The military’s director of flight safety now is investigating how and why the raft detached from the helicopter, which normally is based at Canadian Forces Base Trenton in Ontario.
Local media are reporting that a woman was asleep in the home when the raft came smashing through the ceiling, and that witnesses described what sounded like an explosion.
Photos from the scene show a gaping hole in the roof of what appears to be a multi-unit residence while the bedroom where the raft apparently fell was littered with debris.
There were conflicting reports on whether anyone was hurt by the incident.
While Lavallee said one person had sustained minor injuries, Miami-Dade Police spokesman Det. Lee Cowart said that initial assessment had been changed and no injuries were reported.
Police were called to the scene around 3 p.m., noted Cowart, who added the area where the incident took place is located on a common flight path between the ocean and U.S. Coast Guard station.
Cowart said police were able to make immediate contact with the Canadian air force officials, whom he described as being “really up front with us” and having sent someone to the scene.
While the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, which is responsible for flight safety in the U.S., was aware of the incident, a spokeswoman couldn’t immediately say whether it would launch its own investigation.