Aviation safety investigations & reports

Collision with terrain involving Robinson R22 Beta, 44 km south of McArthur River Mine Aerodrome, Northern Territory, on 16 August 2020

Investigation number:
Status: Active
Investigation in progress
Phase: Final report: External review Read more information on this investigation phase


The ATSB is investigating the collision with terrain involving Robinson R22 Beta, 44 km south of McArthur River Mine Aerodrome, Northern Territory, on 16 August 2020.

On 16 August 2020, a Robinson R22 Beta, registration VH-YMU, was being utilised for cattle mustering operations in remote country, from the Rocky Point Yards, Northern Territory, south of the McArthur River Mine Aerodrome. At about 1200 Central Standard Time, the pilot was required to conduct an emergency forced landing. The helicopter landed heavily, resulting in substantial damage to the machine and serious injuries to the pilot. It was reported that the forced landing was as a result of failed engine to main rotor gearbox drive belts. Another helicopter operating nearby was landed at the accident site and the pilot of that helicopter transported the injured pilot of VH-YMU to the McArthur River Mine Site for evacuation and medical treatment.

The evidence collection phase of the investigation will include interviewing the pilot, the pilot from the accompanying helicopter, and maintenance personnel, and a review of the aircraft’s maintenance documentation and any available recorded flight data.

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: 16 August 2020   Investigation status: Active  
Time: 1200 CST   Investigation level: Short - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): 44 km south McArthur River Mine Aerodrome   Investigation phase: Final report: External review  
State: Northern Territory   Occurrence type: Collision with terrain  
  Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Pending   Highest injury level: Serious  
Anticipated completion: 3rd Quarter 2022    

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Robinson Helicopter Co  
Aircraft model R22 Beta  
Aircraft registration VH-YMU  
Serial number 4560  
Operator Enjay Services  
Type of operation Aerial Work  
Sector Helicopter  
Damage to aircraft Substantial  
Departure point Rocky Point Yards, Northern Territory  
Destination Rocky Point Yards, Northern Territory  
Last update 23 May 2022