Aviation safety investigations & reports

Wirestrike and collision with terrain involving Robinson R44, VH-HNF, at Steam Plains, New South Wales, on 31 July 2020

Investigation number:
Status: Active
Investigation in progress


The ATSB is investigating a wirestrike and collision with terrain involving a Robinson R44, VH-HNF, at Steam Plains, NSW, on 31 July 2020.

During agricultural spraying operations, the helicopter struck powerlines and collided with terrain, resulting in substantial damage. The pilot sustained fatal injuries. 

A team of investigators attended the accident site. The evidence collection phase of the investigation will include examination of the wreckage, mapping the site with a UAV, and reviewing documentation and procedures.

A final report will be released at the conclusion of the investigation. Should a critical safety issue be identified during the course of the investigation, the ATSB will immediately notify relevant parties, so that appropriate safety action can be taken.

General details
Date: 31 July 2020   Investigation status: Active  
Time: 11:00 EST   Investigation level: Short - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): Steam Plains, 69 km SE of Hay   Investigation phase: Evidence collection  
State: New South Wales   Occurrence type: Wirestrike  
  Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Pending   Highest injury level: Fatal  
Anticipated completion: 1st Quarter 2021    

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Robinson Helicopter Co  
Aircraft model R44  
Aircraft registration VH-HNF  
Serial number 2524  
Operator Riverina Rotor Work  
Type of operation Aerial Work  
Sector Helicopter  
Damage to aircraft Substantial  
Departure point Unknown  
Last update 25 September 2020