I was shooting aerials of a drilling ship in the Gulf of Mexico when the helicopter I was flying in almost had a very serious accident. We had latched open the rear door of the helicopter so that I could shoot freely. When we were just a few miles from the ship, I noticed a fluttering at the edge of the open door. Then I heard a whooshing sound. I thought perhaps something had blown out the door, but then I noticed that the entire door was gone. Everything seemed fine, and I didn't feel the least bit nervous, but the pilot said we better put down on the drill ship and check out the helicopter.
The mechanical crew told us that we had been very lucky because we had opened the door on the opposite side to the rotor blade. If the door had come off and hit the rotor blade, the helicopter would most likely have crashed. British Petroleum sent one of their top executives out, and they grounded all helicopters for photo flights until they completed a full inquiry.
Later that day I felt a bit weak in the knees realizing how close we had come to a serious accident.