Aviation safety investigations & reports

Engine failure or malfunction involving Robinson Helicopter R44, registration VH-KOV near Nathan River Station, NT on 16 May 2022

Investigation number:
Status: Active
Investigation in progress


The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) is investigating an engine failure or malfunction involving Robinson Helicopter R44, registered VH-KOV, that occurred near Nathan River Station, Northern Territory on 16 May 2022.

During sight seeing operations, the engine ran rough and failed. The pilot conducted an autorotation where the helicopter collided with terrain and was destroyed. The pilot and two passengers sustained minor injuries and one passenger sustained serious injuries.

A report will be published at the conclusion of the investigation. However, should any critical safety issues be identified at any stage during the course of the investigation, the ATSB will immediately notify relevant parties so appropriate safety action can be taken.

General details
Date: 16 May 2022   Investigation status: Active  
Time: 15:30 AUS Central Standard Time   Investigation level: Short - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): near Nathan River Station   Investigation phase: Examination and analysis  
State: Northern Territory   Occurrence type: Engine failure or malfunction  
  Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Pending   Highest injury level: Serious  
Anticipated completion: 4th Quarter 2022    

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Robinson Helicopter Co  
Aircraft model R44  
Aircraft registration VH-KOV  
Serial number 1762  
Operator Wellspring Rural Services Pty Ltd  
Type of operation Part 133 Air Transport operation - Rotorcraft  
Sector Helicopter  
Damage to aircraft Destroyed  
Departure point Lorella Springs Homestead, NT  
Destination Lorella Springs Homestead, NT  
Last update 29 June 2022