Investigation number
197200005
Occurrence date
Location
Heron Island
Report release date
Report status
Final
Investigation type
Occurrence Investigation
Investigation status
Completed
Aviation occurrence type
Collision with terrain
Occurrence category
Accident
Highest injury level
Fatal

At approximately 0045 hours on 22 January, 1972 a Bell 206A helicopter registered VH-FOY
crashed into the sea approximately 2700 feet south-east of Heron Island.

It is probable the pilot's past experience in air-sea rescue operations; tlte recent boating
fatality in local waters and concern for the safety of other persons were significant factors which
motivated the pilot in his decision to undertake the flight. He was placed in an unenviable situation but
it was a most hazardous operation and should not have been attempted. In circumstances of virtually
no night or instrument flying practice for five years, total darkness depriving him of visual reference
and his ability impaired by alcohol, the pilot, irrespective of any altimeter setting error, would not
have been able to maintain safe flight on instruments alone whilst conducting a low level search over
the sea.

Aircraft Details
Departure point
Heron Island
Destination
Heron Island
Model
206
Sector
Helicopter
Registration
VH-FOY
Operation type
Aerial Work
Damage
Destroyed
Manufacturer
Bell Helicopter Co