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At approximately 0045 hours on 22 January, 1972 a Bell 206A helicopter registered VH-FOY crashed into the sea approximately 2700 feet south-east of Heron Island.

It is probable the pilot's past experience in air-sea rescue operations; tlte recent boating fatality in local waters and concern for the safety of other persons were significant factors which motivated the pilot in his decision to undertake the flight. He was placed in an unenviable situation but it was a most hazardous operation and should not have been attempted. In circumstances of virtually no night or instrument flying practice for five years, total darkness depriving him of visual reference and his ability impaired by alcohol, the pilot, irrespective of any altimeter setting error, would not have been able to maintain safe flight on instruments alone whilst conducting a low level search over the sea.

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[ Download PDF: 210KB]
General details
Date: 22 January 1972 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 0045 ESuT  
Location:Heron Island Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: Queensland Occurrence type: Collision with terrain 
Release date: 27 February 1973 Occurrence class: Operational 
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Accident 
 Highest injury level: Fatal 
Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer: Bell Helicopter Co 
Aircraft model: 206 
Aircraft registration: VH-FOY 
Type of operation: Aerial Work 
Sector: Helicopter 
Damage to aircraft: Destroyed 
Departure point:Heron Island
Destination:Heron Island
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Last update 13 May 2014