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A group of five firemen had finished a task in a fire fighting area and were to be winched out from steeply sloping terrain. The helicopter hovered at about 30 feet while the first two men attached themselves to the dual winch hook. They were then raised to the aircraft, following which the next fireman was also lifted. The remaining two men then attached themselves to the hook. The operation proceeded normally until the men were close to the skids of the helicopter. At this point the winch cable broke and the men fell to the ground. An inspection of the cable revealed that it had come off one of the pulleys of the hoist and become jammed. Fraying of the cable had occurred and it had finally failed in overload at a point some 4 metres from the hook. A number of kinks were found in the cable, possibly resulting from the operator's maintenance and inspection procedures. Such cable twisting would have increased the possibility of the cable riding over the edge of the pulley, particularly when the cable was not under tension. Such a situation would occur when extra cable was paid out to assist with the attachment of the cable to a person's lifting harness. The length of frayed cable was consistent with this sequence happening on the hoist on which the accident occurred.

Download Final Report
[ Download PDF: 22KB]
General details
Date: 09 February 1986 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 1630  
Location:8 km SW Falls Creek Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: Victoria Occurrence type: Miscellaneous - Other 
Release date: 28 August 1986 Occurrence class: Operational 
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Accident 
 Highest injury level: Serious 
Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer: Bell Helicopter Co 
Aircraft model: 205 
Aircraft registration: VH-UHP 
Type of operation: Aerial Work 
Sector: Helicopter 
Damage to aircraft: Nil 
Departure point:Mt. Beauty VIC
Departure time:1630
Destination:Mt. Niggerhead VIC
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