Call for chop­per plans af­ter rig­ger’s tragic fall

NT News - - NEWS - CRAIG DUN­LOP

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.

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