Sir Paul McCartney and wife Nancy Shevell, who attended Yom Kippur services prior to their wedding in deference to Shevell’s Jewish faith, might well be bentsching gommel (a thanksgiving prayer for escaping a dangerous situation) on their next visit to the synagogue after the couple narrowly escaped a crash when two helicopter pilots missed danger signals, as reported by the Daily Mail.
The terrifying ordeal occurred when the two were flying back from London, where they attended a celebration of the release of a vegetarian cookbook by McCartney’s daughter Mary, to their home in East Sussex. The pilots were attempting to land in inclement weather and at night, which would have been difficult enough, but the pilots missed danger signals, and one was so certain a crash was inevitable that he lost his ability to speak.
The helicopter, which was rented from Harrods (strange kismet with the Harrods connection–Princess Diana died in a crash with Dodi Al Fayad, whose father owned Harrods, but why create fodder for superstition?), gave two audio warnings that neither pilot heard. The first said “Low terrain” and the second said “warning terrain.” The words flashed on the screen, but went unnoticed until the pilots were almost certain that a crash was going to occur. While it seemed unsafe to land, the pilot executed a skillful, lifesaving go-around, increasing the power and narrowly missing the tree tops by just 2 feet. The helicopter was safely landed in Kent 15 miles from the McCartney home.