Aviation safety investigations & reports

Controlled flight into water - Robinson R44 helicopter, VH-RUR, Lilli Pilli, NSW, 24 April 2011

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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On 24 April 2011, at about 1816 Eastern Standard Time, a Robinson Helicopter R44, registered VH-RUR, with a pilot and one passenger on board, collided with the sea off the northern headland of Lilli Pilli Bay, New South Wales.

The helicopter was being flown after last light and was on approach to a helicopter landing site when the accident occurred. The pilot was not approved, nor was the helicopter equipped, to fly at night.

The occupants escaped from the helicopter after the impact with the water. A witness to the accident assisted the pilot onto nearby rocks but the passenger was fatally injured.

The investigation did not identify any organisational or systemic issues that might adversely affect the future safety of aviation operations. However, the accident does provide a timely reminder of the importance of appropriate flight planning and informed in-flight decision making.

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 274KB]
Alternate: [Download  DOC: 450KB]
General details
Date: 24 April 2011   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1816 EST   Investigation level: Systemic - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): Lilli Pilli    
State: New South Wales   Occurrence type: CFIT  
Release date: 18 November 2011   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: Fatal  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Robinson Helicopter Co  
Aircraft model R44  
Aircraft registration VH-RUR  
Serial number 1585  
Type of operation Private  
Sector Helicopter  
Damage to aircraft Serious  
Last update 03 April 2020