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Vulture crashes into Arizona medical chopper

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • Bird smashes through the windshield
  • It hits the pilot in the chest
  • He makes a safe landing

(CNN) -- Most don't live to tell the story of a close encounter with a vulture.

But a lucky flight crew aboard a medical helicopter did, after midair run-in with the bird of prey Tuesday.

The crew of three was in flight over Arizona when the vulture smashed into the windshield of their helicopter shattering the glass, said Larry Tiffin, airport manager at Nogales International Airport.

It then smacked into the chest of the pilot.

Though startled, the pilot made a safe landing at Nogales International Airport -- with about 75 percent of the chopper's windshield missing.

"He was exceptionally lucky to not be injured," said Tiffin. "The crew members are just happy the pilot did such a great job

They are in good spirits and humor."

There were no patients aboard the helicopter when the incident happened. The crew members were unharmed.

The vulture, however, did not make it.

CNN's Amanda Watts contributed to this report.