Wildfires ravaging through the woods is an unlikely spot for a cute animal moment to go viral. But the Internet is home to all kinds of unusual events. During a water drops mission to douse the California wildfires, an owl joined the firefighter pilot to keep an eye on the whole endeavour.
Like a hitchhiker catching a lift on the highway, this nocturnal bird hitchhiked in a helicopter. However, the reason for this is far from cute. It must have sought shelter in the flying helicopter to escape the deadly Creek Fire ravaging through the Sierra National Forest. The owl probably squeezed inside through a small open window on the UH-1 Huey Helicopter. It was being flown by Dan Alpiner of the Sky Aviation. He was quick to capture the image of his suddenly appearing co-pilot and the image has now amused netizens all over.
Sky Aviation is a privately-owned charter flight company. They uploaded the image to their Facebook account and commented on how odd it was to have the owl enter the aircraft. A bird entering the helicopter while it’s flying is unheard of, they further said in the caption.
In an interview with the Your Central Valley, the Fresno Sheriff’s Office Pilot Johnny Reyes called it “One in a million shot.” Commenting on the luck of the pilot, he said the guy should even buy a lottery ticket.
Alpiner, on the other hand, was spooked by the bird suddenly entering the aircraft. He said the locked eyes, he assessed that the bird was chill and harmless. “And then I was like, okay, then you are going to work with me,” he said. “I mean we get to see a lot of cool things,” (as a pilot), “but that is something that I will take with me for a long time,” he added.
It is definitely amazing how the bird managed to survive the intense wind power that the helicopter blades generate. According to American Helicopter Flight Instructor Matthew Dowdy, the only possible way to explain this is if the bird and the aircraft were flying at the exact same speed.
Many of the commenters noticed how the owl must be thankful for this escape or desperate enough to come in such close proximity to a human. It is also a reminder that many lives are being affected by the deadly wildfire. The Creek Fire has been burning since September, caused by people using fireworks in the woods. Many human deaths and injuries have been recorded whereas animal impact is largely uncountable.