‘Pilot saved lives’ in 2017 crash: findings
JUST a day before the tragic Whitsunday Air Services helicopter crash which claimed two American tourists’ lives on Hardy Reef on Wednesday, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau released findings into another Whitsunday Air Services helicopter crash on November 8.
The ATSB found the pilot’s actions last year ultimately led to the positive outcome after about 40 minutes into the return flight to Hamilton Island, the pilot of the Robinson R44 helicopter was forced to enact emergency procedures after partial engine failure.
After unsuccessful attempts to increase power, the pilot conducted an auto-rotation on the water.
The pilot manually deployed the emergency floatation system and performed a successful ditching about 49km from the island.
The three passengers and the pilot, who were uninjured, remained in the helicopter and were rescued by a crew of a local vessel about an hour later.
The helicopter later sank and was unable to be recovered.
The ATSB report highlights that the combination of the emergency floatation system, the use and availability of life jackets and the pilot’s post-landing actions resulted in a positive outcome with no injuries to those on board.
“The pilot landed the helicopter on the water, with the emergency floats deployed, shut down the engine, and applied the rotor brake. The pilot activated the emergency locator transmitter and instructed passengers to prepare to inflate their life jackets.”