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Preliminary report released 14 March 2008

At about 1905 Eastern Daylight-saving Time, on 29 December 2007, a Robinson Helicopter Company R44 Raven 1 (R44), registered VH-MEB was being operated under the charter category with two pilots on board. Following a passenger scenic flight, the helicopter departed Pier 35 helipad, located adjacent to the Yarra River, Melbourne, Vic. to return to the operator's base. Witnesses nearby reported that shortly following the takeoff, in a north-north-west direction, the helicopter banked left and turned to the south-west, passing a marina at a height of about 30-35 ft AMSL. Witnesses reported that the helicopter's forward airspeed decreased and that it 'rocked or wobbled in the air' then pitched nose up, rolled to the left, descended and impacted the water.

The handling pilot was able to exit the helicopter via the right side and was recovered by the crew of a boat. The other pilot did not exit the helicopter and was fatally injured. The body of the pilot was subsequently recovered from the wreckage by Victorian Police Search and Rescue Squad divers.

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