On 1 June 2011, a Bell Helicopter 206B (III), registered VH-BHU (BHU), departed Mossman Sports Ground, Queensland for a local area charter flight. The flight was conducted as a weed spotting operation and there was one pilot and three passengers, acting as weed spotters, on board.
The aircraft was operating about 10-15 ft above the tree top level when the pilot initiated a slow left turn and the helicopter struck a dual-line powerline. The pilot was unaware that there was a powerline in the vicinity prior to the collision. The pilot applied control inputs to keep the helicopter level as it descended though the tree canopy.
The helicopter landed in an upright position and the pilot and three passengers were able to exit. The pilot and one passenger sustained serious injuries, and the other two passengers sustained minor injuries.
As a result of the accident, the helicopter operator conducted a meeting to discuss the factors that led to the accident, and highlight the hazards. They also issued a wire awareness information pack to all current pilots and modified the pilot briefing notifications to specifically highlight hazards when working at low level. The Operations Manual was also being updated to enhance the section on low level reconnaissance and changes were made to the Emergency Response Plan.
|Date:||01 June 2011||Investigation status:||Completed|
|Time:||1231||Investigation level:||Short - click for an explanation of investigation levels|
|Location:||near Mossman Hospital|
|Release date:||12 December 2011||Occurrence category:||Accident|
|Report status:||Final||Highest injury level:||Serious|
|Aircraft manufacturer||Bell Helicopter Co|
|Type of operation||Aerial Work|
|Damage to aircraft||Unknown|
|Departure point||Port Douglas, Qld|
|Destination||near Mossman, Qld|