Aviation safety investigations & reports

In-flight break-up involving a Robinson R44, VH-ZNZ, 41 km NW Mossman, Qld, on 18 November 2016

Investigation number:
Status: Active
Investigation in progress


Updated: 11 December 2017

The investigation is continuing and investigators have now received feedback from:

  • the helicopter manufacturer concerning the nature of the damage
  • the Bureau of Metorology concerning the weather forecast.

Completion of the draft report is subject to further analysis of the nature and mechanism of the break-up of the helicopter. On completion of the draft report and internal review, the report will be sent to directly involved parties for comment before the report is finalised and published.



The ATSB is investigating the collision with terrain involving a Robinson R44 helicopter, registered VH-ZNZ and with two persons on board, 41 km north-west of Mossman, Queensland, on 18 November 2016. The pilot was seriously injured and transported to hospital and the passenger was fatally injured. The helicopter was destroyed by the impact forces and post-impact fire.

As part of the investigation, the ATSB will:

  • collect and review aircraft and pilot documentation, including maintenance records
  • review the operation and flight
  • review the weather conditions affecting the flight
  • when appropriate, interview the pilot and any witnesses.

Witnesses are asked to call the ATSB on 1800 020 616.

General details
Date: 18 November 2016   Investigation status: Active  
Time: 12:44 EST   Investigation level: Defined - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): Mount Windsor, 41 km NW Mossman   Investigation phase: Final report: Approval  
State: Queensland   Occurrence type: In-flight break-up  
Report status: Pending   Occurrence category: Accident  
Anticipated completion: 1st Quarter 2019   Highest injury level: Fatal  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Robinson Helicopter Co  
Aircraft model R44 II  
Aircraft registration VH-ZNZ  
Serial number 11954  
Type of operation Charter  
Sector Helicopter  
Damage to aircraft Destroyed  
Departure point Mossman, Qld  
Last update 11 January 2019