A South West air ambulance was forced to abandon an emergency mission because it was leaking fuel.
Staff and customers looked on as Cornwall's Air Ambulance landed outside a cafe on Thursday when the fault had been discovered. The helicopter made a precision landing in the car park of Windy Ridge cafe at Trerulefoot, between Liskeard and Saltash.
It was the first time the Cornwall Air Ambulance has broken down during operational duty this year. The helicopter had been called to attend a road traffic accident in Cornwall, but was forced to ground before it reached the scene.
The road accident casualty was taken to hospital by land ambulance.
The air ambulance was out of action for the rest of the day. The pilot and two paramedics had to leave the helicopter in the car park overnight before an engineer carried out the repairs at 6am yesterday.
A spokesman said the helicopter had a 99.26 per cent functionality rating, and described the episode as "extraordinary".
"It is very rare for the helicopter to break down during operational duty," he said.
"The air ambulance was not able to convey the patient to hospital, but there were no other emergencies during the rest of the day."