By Humphrey Carter A helicopter pilot and his crew escaped with their lives yesterday when their chopper crashed on the road between Esporlas and Banyalbufar. The accident happened early yesterday afternoon as the crew were helping fight a forest fire in the area. The Environment Ministry pilot, with a mechanic and Environmental inspector on board, lost control of the helicopter when one of the rotor-blades clipped a tree or the side of a rock face. The helicopter hit the road on its side, but fortunately only the pilot was slightly hurt, injuring his back, the other two crew members escaped unhurt. Nevertheless, all three were taken to a Palma hospital for a check-up. Emergency services closed the Esporlas to Banyalbufar road while fire fighters doused the crippled helicopter in special foam for fears the fusilage might explode while they waited for engineers to shut the chopper's engines down. The forest fire alarm was raised at 12.45 and the helicopter was one of the first airborne units to reach the scene, although two other fire fighting planes were involved as well as fire fighters and three Guardia Civil Balearic Nature Protection Department brigades. The fire was eventually extinguished and under control by 14.30 after having destroyed three hectares and pine forest. A full inquiry into the cause of the fire has been launched.