From the Niagara Falls Review:
Niagara Helicopters president Ruedi Hafen’s “quick-thinking and airmanship” were the reasons he was a finalist for Aviator of the Year, but he just couldn’t edge out the compelling story of U. S. Airways pilot Capt. Chesley Sullenberger.
“I feel really good to be chosen as the only helicopter pilot in the world amongst all those airplane pilots,” Hafen wrote in an email after the awards banquet in Dubai Saturday.
Hafen was one of four finalists for Aviator of the Year, nominated for the delicate manoeuvring of his helicopter during the successful rescue of a man from the frigid water below the Horseshoe Falls in March.
“All of us who made this happen, we must have done a great job, we have been recognized and we must continue ‘what we do safe, do best and do with love,'” said Hafen, who emphasizes safety during rescues, but also in day-to-day business of shuttling tourists over Niagara Falls.
From a PRWeb press release (via Yahoo! News):
Ruedi Hafen, President and Chief Pilot of Niagara Helicopters has been nominated under Aviator of the Year for his daring rescue of the man who went over Niagara Falls this past March 11, 2009.
The man who plunged over the Niagara Falls in March did not want to be saved, but Ruedi Hafen refused to give up. Following up an emergency call, Hafen – founder of tourist flight operator Niagara Helicopters – hovered his Bell 407 over the drowning man, so a police officer could attach a sling to his arm. When he resisted, Hafen used the aircraft’s downdraft to push the would-be suicide safely to shore. Swiss-born Hafen -who has taken Niagara Helicopters to $6 million revenues in 20 years with his Niagara Falls helicopter tour and specialty flight service – was praised in media coverage for his courage, quick-thinking and airmanship.
“I am honoured to be included in this category with such incredible people as Captain Chesley Sullenberger, Iren Dornier and Jose Miguel Ceppi” said Mr. Hafen.