Aviation safety investigations & reports

Collision with terrain involving Agusta AB206, VH-DPU 45 km NNW Gladstone Airport, Queensland, on 17 March 2017

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed

Final Report

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On 17 March 2017, an Agusta AB206A helicopter, registered VH-DPU, departed Caboolture Airfield, for Curtis Island, Queensland, on a private flight. On board the helicopter were the pilot and one passenger.

The pilot reported that they tracked along the coast at about 500 ft and then turned the helicopter to the left from the coast to identify their planned landing site. The pilot was uncertain of the number of turns conducted near the landing site, but believed that it was during the second turn at about 50 ft and 40–60 kt that they suddenly felt there was ‘no power’. The pilot reported that the helicopter made one uncontrolled turn through about 360° during the descent, and at some stage they lowered the collective with the assumption the engine had failed. The helicopter initially impacted upright in the water before the airframe separated from the helicopter skids, turned through 180° and rolled onto its left side.

At about 0300 on 19 March 2017, a rescue helicopter located the wreckage and survivors, who were transferred to Rockhampton Hospital. The pilot and passenger were seriously injured and the helicopter was substantially damaged.

The pilot reported that it was beneficial to have a first aid kit on board the helicopter. However, they considered it necessary to carry the emergency position indicating radio beacon on the person, rather than fitted to the helicopter. They further noted that a high quality strobe light would have assisted them to signal their location once search and rescue services were in the vicinity.


Aviation Short Investigations Bulletin - Issue 62

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General details
Date: 17 March 2017   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 11:44 EST   Investigation level: Short - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): near Gladstone Airport (Keppel Creek, north side of Curtis Island)    
State: Queensland   Occurrence type: Collision with terrain  
Release date: 05 September 2017   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: Serious  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Agusta, S.p.A, Construzioni Aeronautiche  
Aircraft model AB 206A  
Aircraft registration VH-DPU  
Serial number 8130  
Type of operation Private  
Sector Helicopter  
Damage to aircraft Substantial  
Departure point Caboolture, Qld  
Destination Curtis Island, Qld.  
Last update 14 November 2018