Aviation safety investigations & reports

Engine power loss - 91 km E Hamilton Island, Qld, 13 June 2007, VH-JWM, Bell Helicopter B206B

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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On 13 June 2007 at about 1335 Eastern Standard Time, a Bell Helicopter B206B helicopter registered VH-JWM (JWM) departed Mackay, Qld on a charter flight to a container ship, located about 180 km offshore. The helicopter was engaged in the transfer of a marine pilot to an offshore ship. On board were the pilot and the marine pilot. The flight was operated under the visual flight rules (VFR). The pilot later reported that at about 1423, while about midway between Mackay and the ship at about 1,500 ft above mean sea level, the helicopter sustained an engine power loss. The pilot reported that the first indication was a slight yaw kick in the helicopter. He reported that he immediately lowered the collective control and configured the helicopter descent profile for an auto-rotation emergency landing. The pilot reported that he broadcast a MAYDAY on both the operator's and air traffic control radio frequencies. The pilot reported that he then reduced the forward airspeed of the helicopter, confirmed the inflation of the pop-out floats on the helicopter's skids, flared the helicopter and landed in the ocean. He reported that at this point, the helicopter was floating on the ocean and the main rotor blades had nearly stopped rotating.

The 2 to 3 m sea swells caused the helicopter to roll to its left and become inverted. The two occupants sat on the overturned helicopter until they could inflate and enter a four-person life raft.

About one and one-half hours after ditching, they recovered by another company helicopter and transported to the Mackay Base Hospital. They sustained only minor injuries. After several weeks floating, the helicopter eventually submerged and was not recovered until 26 September 2007. The damage to the wreckage prevented the investigation from obtaining any additional information in relation to the engine failure.


Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 1.8MB]
General details
Date: 13 June 2007   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1426 EST   Investigation level: Systemic - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): 39 NM west of White Tip Reef    
State: Queensland   Occurrence type: Engine failure or malfunction  
Release date: 24 April 2008   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: Minor  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Bell Helicopter Co  
Aircraft model 206  
Aircraft registration VH-JWM  
Serial number 617  
Type of operation Charter  
Sector Helicopter  
Departure point Mackay, QLD  
Destination White Tip Reef, QLD  
Crew details
Role Class of licence Hours on type Hours total
Pilot-in-Command ATPL 1st Class 588.4 909.6
  Crew Passenger Ground Total
Minor: 1 1 0 2
Total: 1 1 0 2
Last update 03 April 2020