Aviation safety investigations & reports

Bell 206A Helicopter, VH-SJJ, Margaret Beach, Cockatoo Island near Derby, WA, 15 November 1970

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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Before commencing operations from Oobagooma Homestead on a series of flights to be made for the purpose of pegging mineral claims, the pilot briefed all passengers on safety precautions in flight and on the ground. The briefing included instructions for movement near the helicopter while the rotors were in motion and a caution that the area near the tail rotor was to be avoided at all times. After landing a second time at Margaret Beach, the aircraft engine was held at flight idle power while passengers alighted and unloaded equipment. The aircraft was then moved to slightly higher, level ground and again held at flight idle while the pilot and the field assistant in charge of pegging discussed whether to continue pegging or stop for lunch. They decided to continue pegging and the field assistant then walked to an area to the right hand side and to the rear of the aircraft to pick up a box of pegging tapes. While returning to the aircraft and looking down at the box which was held in both hands, he walked around the rear of the helicopter and was struck on the head by the rotating tail rotor, which inflicted severe head injuries. The pilot considered that evacuation by air was unwise in view of possible shock loading having occurred to the helicopter transmission. A member of a picnic party, fortuitously at the beach, conveyed the injured man by boat to Cockatoo Island where a doctor gave medical attention pending the arrival of an aircraft which conveyed the injured passenger to Derby.
Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 160KB]
General details
Date: 15 November 1970   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1155 WST    
Location: Margaret Beach, near Derby    
State: Western Australia    
Release date: 18 October 1971   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: Serious  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Bell Helicopter Co  
Aircraft model 206  
Aircraft registration VH-SJJ  
Type of operation Aerial Work  
Sector Helicopter  
Damage to aircraft Substantial  
Departure point Oobagooma Homestead  
Departure time 1125  
Destination Margaret Beach  
Last update 16 May 2014