Military Chopper Makes Emergency Landing at NJ School

Skyforce10 over Chairville Elementary School where the helicopter landed

A military helicopter made an unplanned landing on the field of an elementary school in Medford, New Jersey Tuesday afternoon.

The chopper, which belongs to the U.S. Marine Corps, started vibrating, according to the pilot.

"It took us about 30 seconds to land the aircraft," said U.S. Marine Core Captain Jason Nollette. "We just found the closest field we could." 

He said no one was ever in any danger and that the decision to land quickly in the school's field was purely a precaution.

"Imagine your car having a flat tire," Nollette said. "That's what it feels like for us in the aircraft."

It made the unscheduled landing around 2 p.m. at Chairville Elementary School on Chairville Road in Medford.

"We picked the baseball field," Nollette said. "We knew we wouldn't damage crops and someone's livelihood. None of the kids were outside."

Seven people were on board. They were traveling from McGuire Air Force Base to Quantico, Virginia after a training exercise. McGuire AFB is about 19 miles from the school.

Now the pilot and crew are waiting for a part from Quantico so they can ferry back to base, so the chopper may be in the schoolyard for at least a few more hours.

The helicopter is a CH-46 Sea Knight, which was used during the Vietnam War to carry troops to and from Navy Ships in the China Sea, according to Boeing, the manufacturer. Currently, Sea Knights are often used to carry press and secret service and supports presidential trips. However, Nollette says his unit was not part of President Obama's recent trip to New Jersey.

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