Sydney locals got an up-close look at a special forces Black Hawk helicopter after a training drill over the harbour took a dangerous turn.
Two helicopters had been taking part in a counter-terrorism training exercise over Sydney Harbour, with personnel spending several hours winching on and off the Captain Cook cruise ship.
However, just before 1pm, one of the aircraft clipped the boat’s mast.
It headed immediately for open space, making a dramatic landing in Watson’s Bay.
“There must have been something dramatic happening for it to land so quickly in a space where a lot of civilians were walking around,” witness John Blondin said.
“This one came very quick and very loud and the leaves just flew off the trees. Virtually before you could blink an eyelid it had landed.”
The second Black Hawk followed close behind, circling the impromptu landing site before touching down itself.
The personnel and their dogs from the damaged helicopter transferred quickly to the second, which then took off again.
“There was some urgency in it, definitely urgent,” he said.
Engineers are still on the scene assessing the damage. The helicopter is expected to stay in the Watson Bay park at least overnight.
The cruise ship is also being checked for damage.