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The helicopter was landed on an uneven 2 to 3 degree slope to offload two surveyors and their equipment. The forward sections of the skids were in firm contact with the ground, but because of the uneven surface the rear of the left skid was not in firm contact. After landing, the pilot lowered the collective and moved the cyclic control to confirm the helicopter was firmly seated on the ground before he allowed the passengers to disembark. The engine was running and the rotor was turning at 100% of operating RPM. There was a gusty 15-20 kt wind from 30 degrees to the right of the nose.

The rear seat passenger disembarked from the left (downhill) side, unloaded his equipment, and moved away from the helicopter towards the front as briefed. The front seat passenger disembarked from the left side, unloaded his equipment, climbed back on to the left skid, and reached into the cockpit through the door. The pilot said that he had been observing the site to his right to ensure it was clear, and when he looked back towards the front he realised the right skid was just off the ground. The pilot said he noticed a cool strong wind coming through his open window when the helicopter started to roll. He moved the cyclic control to the right but this had no effect. The pilot said he then pulled in collective but the helicopter continued to roll to the left and the left skid did not leave the ground. He then noticed the passenger on the top step on the left side. The pilot said he yelled at the passenger who immediately jumped off the step, closed the door and faced the helicopter with his arms outstretched. The helicopter continued to roll to the left and the passenger ran away directly to the left of the helicopter. As the weight came off the skids, the helicopter began to slide sideways down the slope. The slide was stopped, half a metre later by a partially buried stump and the helicopter rolled over. The pilot was unable to recover control before the rotor blades made contact with the passenger and the ground. The passenger was struck by at least one main rotor blade and was fatally injured.

It is probable that the helicopter very rapidly entered a condition known as dynamic rollover, where the only possible recovery action was to fully lower the collective. However, it is unlikely that the pilot had sufficient time to recognise the developing the situation and to take the appropriate action before the rollover became unrecoverable.

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General details
Date: 12 October 1997 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 1500 WST  
Location   (show map):204km NNE Geraldton, Aerodrome Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: Western Australia Occurrence type: Loss of control 
Release date: 25 February 1998 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-WCF 
Serial number: 3134 
Type of operation: Charter 
Sector: Helicopter 
Damage to aircraft: Substantial 
Departure point:108 NM NNE Geraldton WA
Departure time:1455 WST
Destination:110 NM NNE Geraldton WA
Crew details
RoleClass of licenceHours on typeHours total
Fatal: 0101
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Last update 13 May 2014