By Nona Tepper
A helicopter taking aerial photos of Concordia University's campus in River Forest was forced to make an emergency landing on the baseball field after an object, most likely a bird, struck and cracked its windshield about 1:55 p.m. on Oct. 22, according university spokesman Eric Matanyi.
He said the university hired a photographer to take aerial photographs of the campus, and that the photographer hired the private, two-seat helicopter separately to complete the job.
While the helicopter was in the air, Matanyi said, an unknown object struck the aircraft's fiberglass windshield, cracking it. Matanyi said he did not know if a bird struck the helicopter.
Jim Major, an Oak Park resident who was driving in the area at the time, said he heard the emergency call on his police scanner and drove over to the university. According to Major, police who responded to the scene told him a bird had struck the windshield.
"The pilot had control of the helicopter at all times," Matanyi said. "At no point was there a danger to residents or the community."
The pilot chose to make an emergency landing on Concordia's baseball field. Although the university hires photographers to take aerial footage of the campus "fairly regularly," Matanyi said this is the first time he remembers a helicopter making an emergency landing. Neither the pilot nor its passenger was injured.
Matanyi said the helicopter will remain on Concordia's field for an unknown amount of time while officials assess damage.
Alexa Rogals contributed to this report.
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