Call for chopper plans after rigger’s tragic fall
THE Territory’s Deputy Coroner has flagged recommendations that the government find a backup plan for when the NT’s CareFlight helicopter is down for routine maintenance.
An inquest into the death of rigger Damien Kyle-Little heard the CareFlight emergency helicopter was down for a week of maintenance when Mr Kyle-Little fell more than 60m to his death while working on a Telstra tower in the Douglas Daly region.
Mr Kyle-Little’s brother, Scott Kyle-Little, told the NT News on Thursday he hoped his brother’s death would see better arrangements put in place for when the helicopter was out of action.
“My brother did not die instantly ... his only chance of survival was a CareFlight helicopter,” he said.
Counsel assisting the coroner Jodi Truman said the helicopter could be down for up to two weeks at a time.
Deputy Coroner Kelvin Currie said: “I must say this is the first time we have come across the helicopter being unavailable.”
“I agree that when you have maintenance, you know it’s approaching, there is potentially good for someone to have a backup plan. “I think that’s a fair point.” The inquest heard the day Mr Kyle-Little died, CareFlight logistics staff made frantic inquiries with the Australian Army about whether a military helicopter could come to the help of Mr KyleLittle, who was conscious for at least half and hour after his fall.
Alternative arrangements, to have a plane sent to Batchelor and an ambulance from Adelaide River, would have had knock-on effects on CareFlight’s other services in the Top End, the inquest heard.
Evidence from CareFlight said the level of service provided was determined by the organisation’s contract with the Territory Government.
Mr Currie’s findings, which he expects to deliver within six weeks, are expected to revolve around on-site safety procedures and on CareFlight’s capabilities.