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On 13 June 2007 at about 1335 Eastern Standard Time, a Bell Helicopter B206B helicopter registered VH-JWM (JWM) departed Mackay, Qld on a charter flight to a container ship, located about 180 km offshore. The helicopter was engaged in the transfer of a marine pilot to an offshore ship. On board were the pilot and the marine pilot. The flight was operated under the visual flight rules (VFR). The pilot later reported that at about 1423, while about midway between Mackay and the ship at about 1,500 ft above mean sea level, the helicopter sustained an engine power loss. The pilot reported that the first indication was a slight yaw kick in the helicopter. He reported that he immediately lowered the collective control and configured the helicopter descent profile for an auto-rotation emergency landing. The pilot reported that he broadcast a MAYDAY on both the operator's and air traffic control radio frequencies. The pilot reported that he then reduced the forward airspeed of the helicopter, confirmed the inflation of the pop-out floats on the helicopter's skids, flared the helicopter and landed in the ocean. He reported that at this point, the helicopter was floating on the ocean and the main rotor blades had nearly stopped rotating.

The 2 to 3 m sea swells caused the helicopter to roll to its left and become inverted. The two occupants sat on the overturned helicopter until they could inflate and enter a four-person life raft.

About one and one-half hours after ditching, they recovered by another company helicopter and transported to the Mackay Base Hospital. They sustained only minor injuries. After several weeks floating, the helicopter eventually submerged and was not recovered until 26 September 2007. The damage to the wreckage prevented the investigation from obtaining any additional information in relation to the engine failure.


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General details
Date: 13 June 2007 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 1426 EST  
Location   (show map):39 NM west of White Tip Reef Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: Queensland Occurrence type: Engine failure or malfunction 
Release date: 24 April 2008 Occurrence class: Technical 
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Accident 
 Highest injury level: Minor 
Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer: Bell Helicopter Co 
Aircraft model: 206 
Aircraft registration: VH-JWM 
Serial number: 617 
Type of operation: Charter 
Sector: Helicopter 
Departure point:Mackay, QLD
Destination:White Tip Reef, QLD
Crew details
RoleClass of licenceHours on typeHours total
Pilot-in-CommandATPL 1st Class588.4909.6
Minor: 1102
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Last update 18 April 2018