Aviation safety investigations & reports

Loss of cyclic control and in flight break-up involving Robinson R22 helicopter, VH-HGU, 7 km north-north-west of Cloncurry Airport, Queensland, on 2 August 2017

Investigation number:
Status: Active
Investigation in progress


Updated: 15 August 2017

The ATSB has completed the on-site phase of the investigation into the in-flight break-up involving a Robinson R22 helicopter, registered VH-HGU, 7 km north-west of Cloncurry, Queensland on 2 August 2017. That phase included the:

  • examination of the aircraft wreckage
  • recovery of several electronic and navigational devices for further technical examination
  • conduct of a number of interviews.

The initial notification provided to the ATSB indicated that the helicopter had contacted powerlines adjacent to the accident site. However, analysis of the available evidence, including photography of the powerlines utilising a remotely piloted aircraft, did not indicate any contact between the helicopter and powerlines.

The investigation is continuing and will examine the:

  • weather conditions at the time of the flight
  • aircraft maintenance records
  • pilot’s qualifications and experience
  • operator’s processes
  • recovered items.

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 August 2017   Investigation status: Active  
Time: 7:02 EST   Investigation level: Defined - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): 7 km north-west of Cloncurry   Investigation phase: Final report: Approval  
State: Queensland   Occurrence type: In-flight break-up  
  Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Pending   Highest injury level: Fatal  
Anticipated completion: 3rd Quarter 2020    

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Robinson Helicopter Co  
Aircraft model R22  
Aircraft registration VH-HGU  
Operator Cloncurry Mustering Company  
Type of operation Aerial Work  
Sector Helicopter  
Damage to aircraft Destroyed  
Departure point Cloncurry Airport, Qld  
Last update 06 July 2020