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Colin Powell reunites with pilot who saved his life

York Regional Police helicopter pilot Tim Royes and Colin Powell reunite, Nov. 26, 2013. COURTESY: TIM ROYES

Former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell will never forget York Regional Police helicopter pilot Tim Royes.

Twenty-one years ago, Royes saved his life.

Royes is the chief pilot for Air 2 — the York Regional Police helicopter — but in the early ’90s he was a Jamaican military pilot.

On Feb. 14, 1992, he was flying the then head of the U.S Armed Forces and his wife to the airport in Kingston, Jamaica when they ran into trouble.

“We had a severe malfunction on one of the engines,” he told 680News.

Hear the full interview below:

“[We] ended up having to come down without any power in the engine. We basically auto-rotated and safely landed.”

He managed to get the aircraft down safely just short of the harbour and Powell was very grateful.

“He came back and he spoke to me and he said that it was the second time he had crashed in his life and ‘you’ve done a heck of a job getting the aircraft down safely.'”

The two reunited for the first time Tuesday at a Toronto conference.

“We chatted about six, seven minutes about what actually happened the day and about life. I think he appreciated it quite a lot, too.”

“It was obviously something for both of us. A very significant incident that we experienced.”

Royes is pretty modest about his role, saying he did what he was trained to do.

Powell has never forgotten that day and makes reference to it in one of his books.