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On 2 May 2017, the pilot of a Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm BK117-A3 helicopter, registered ZK-IED, was tasked to relocate power poles from the northern side of the inlet to the southern side at Porirua Harbour, Pauatahanui Arm, New Zealand. The pilot reported that while in the cruise at about 300 ft, the helicopter started an un-commanded yaw, at which point the pilot released the sling load and entered into an autorotation onto the water. The helicopter was substantially damaged, and the pilot was uninjured.

On 3 July 2017, the New Zealand Transport Accident Investigation Commission (TAIC) requested Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) technical assistance with data recovery from a global positioning system (GPS) device that was onboard the helicopter at the time of the ditching. In accordance with paragraph 5.23 of Annex 13 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation Aircraft Accident and Incident Investigation, the ATSB appointed an accredited representative (ATSB investigator) to the TAIC investigation. The investigator will assist TAIC with the GPS data recovery as part of an external Investigation under the provisions of the Australian Transport Safety Investigation Act 2003.

TAIC is responsible for the release of the final investigation report into this accident. Any enquiries in respect of the ongoing TAIC investigation or release of the investigation report should, in the first instance, be directed to the:
Transport Accident Investigation Commission
Level 9, 114 The Terrace
PO Box 10323
Wellington, 6143, New Zealand


The information contained in this web update is released in accordance with section 25 of the
Transport Safety Investigation Act 2003 and is derived from the initial investigation of the occurrence. Readers are cautioned that new evidence will become available as the investigation progresses that will enhance the ATSB's understanding of the accident as outlined in this web update. As such, no analysis or findings are included in this update.

General details
Date: 02 May 2017 Investigation status: Active 
 Investigation type: External Investigation 
Location   (show map):Porirua Harbour, Pauatahanui Arm, New Zealand Occurrence type:Ditching 
State: International Occurrence class: Operational 
 Occurrence category: Accident 
Report status: Pending Highest injury level: None 
Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer: Messerschmitt-Bolkow-Blohm 
Aircraft model: BK117-A3 
Aircraft registration: ZK-IED 
Type of operation: Unknown 
Sector: Helicopter 
Damage to aircraft: Substantial 
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Last update 02 November 2017