Pilot walks away from powerline collision unscathed

A HELICOPTER pilot has walked away from what could have been a tragedy, after his Robinson 22 hit power lines on a property 65km outside of Charleville.

At 6.30am on Tuesday, the pilot reported the crash to the Civil Aviation Safety Authority online, before police were notified and arrived at the site an hour later.

"I don't think he was aware that we were all heading out there, because police took it up with the property owner, who showed us the crash site," Charleville Police Sergeant John Roche said.

"When he was coming in to land, it would appear the rear rotor of the helicopter came into contact with an unmarked power line and brought him to the ground.

"The chopper spun at least once, maybe twice, and flipped onto its right side.

"And then the pilot was able to extricate himself and walk clear of the crash."

Aside from minor chest and shoulder injuries sustained from his seatbelt, the 48-year-old contract musterer was not hurt and didn't require ambulance transport to hospital, instead opting to attend on his own accord.

The crash site at Mayfield, on Quilpie-Adavale Rd, was secured by local police and will remain untouched until CASA advise otherwise.

"We have also had to notify CASA and the aircraft remained in-situ on the property and cordoned off.

"It appears to be pilot error at this stage, although the pilot is always very aware of power lines by looking for isolators," Sgt Roche said.

"Lines themselves can't always be seen terribly easily, so he looks for isolators and saw one in one direction before turning to land, but there was another line in the other direction and obviously it was too late and he's come to grief."

Without the power outage that occurred, police said it would have been more difficult to locate the incident.

"The power outage is how one of the officers located the site," Sgt Roche said.

"Because of a bad phone line from the person who called it in, we didn't have an exact location, so our officer rang the power company, who was able to give us a location."

Both CASA and the Australian Transport Safety Bureau were notified of the incident and a CASA spokesman confirmed it would review the matter with the pilot before conducting a report.

An ATSB spokesperson said the bureau would gather information, before determining if a full investigation would go ahead.
 


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