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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 207951
Last updated: 25 January 2021
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Time:15:43 LT
Type:Silhouette image of generic EC20 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Eurocopter EC120B Colibri
Owner/operator:Whitsunday Air Services
Registration: VH-WII
C/n / msn: 1603
Fatalities:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 5
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:near Hardy Reef pontoon, off the Whitsunday islands, North Queensland -   Australia
Phase: Approach
Nature:Passenger - Non-Scheduled/charter/Air Taxi
Departure airport:Hamilton Island Airport
Destination airport:Hardy Reef pontoon
The helicopter crashed at sea 250 meters from remote Barrier Reef pontoon and was fully submerged.
2 occupants died, 1 was seriously injured, 2 others were slightly injured.

"A man and a woman who are believed to be international tourists were recovered from the helicopter and pronounced deceased at the scene. Three other people, including the male pilot and a male and female passenger, also believed to be from overseas, will be transported by sea for medical attention for non-life threating injuries." police said.

ATSB preliminary report:

Sequence of events
The ATSB is still determining the final sequence of events in the lead-up to the accident. The limited information provided in this preliminary factual report is based on the evidence collected to date, including witness accounts. The final sequence of events will be determined by the collection, analysis and examination of further evidence.

On 21 March 2018, at about 1500 Eastern Standard Time,[1] the pilot and four passengers of a Eurocopter (Airbus Helicopters) EC120 B helicopter, registered VH-WII and operated by Whitsunday Air Services Pty Ltd, departed Hamilton Island Airport, Queensland, on a charter flight. The flight included flying over coral reefs and beaches, then landing on the Hardy Reef floating helicopter landing site (HLS) (Figure 1). The HLS (pontoon) was located about 72 km north‑north‑east of the Hamilton Island Airport situated between Hardy Reef and Hook Reef, in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Area. After landing, the passengers were to be ferried from the HLS by a small boat to ‘Reefworld’, a large pontoon used to view aquatic life and a base for water sports. This was the second flight that day, by the pilot in VH-WII, to Hardy Reef. The earlier flight was conducted without incident.

While approaching the pontoon, at about 1535, the pilot reported noticing a warning message illuminate in the upper vehicle and engine multifunction display (refer to section titled Helicopter information). As this was a high workload phase of flight, the pilot was unable to verify the nature of the warning. However, in response, the pilot elected to conduct a go-around. When the helicopter was at an altitude of about 40 ft (12 m) above the pontoon, the pilot recalled feeling a ‘thud’ and the nose of the helicopter yawed sharply left (anticlockwise from above). In an attempt to arrest the yaw, the pilot reported that he made a number of control inputs, which included lowering the collective[2] and pushing the cyclic[3] forward and to the left. The pilot was unable to regain control of the helicopter and it collided with the water. A passenger reported that soon after impact with the water, the helicopter rolled onto its right side in a mostly inverted orientation.

The pilot and two of the rear passengers exited the helicopter soon after the collision. After swimming free from the upturned helicopter, the two passengers reported donning their life jackets from a waist belt mounted pouch.[4]

The remaining rear passenger was evacuated by one of the surviving passengers and the front passenger (in the copilot seat) was evacuated from the helicopter by the pilot. At about that time, personnel from Reefworld arrived and assisted with first aid and resuscitation until emergency services arrived. The two passengers that were unable to exit the helicopter unassisted were fatally injured. The two other passengers sustained minor injuries, and the pilot was uninjured.

The helicopter was observed in a semi-submersed state for some time after the occupants had been evacuated and was drifting inverted in a northerly direction away from the landing pontoon. The helicopter’s emergency float system was not deployed (refer to section titled Helicopter information)..... see complete report, link is below.


ATSB preliminary report:


Revision history:

21-Mar-2018 08:51 Iceman 29 Added
21-Mar-2018 08:56 Iceman 29 Updated [Embed code]
21-Mar-2018 08:58 Iceman 29 Updated [Aircraft type, Embed code]
21-Mar-2018 09:09 Iceman 29 Updated [Location, Embed code, Narrative]
21-Mar-2018 09:10 Iceman 29 Updated [Embed code, Narrative]
21-Mar-2018 11:04 Iceman 29 Updated [Registration, Cn, Operator, Nature, Source, Damage, Narrative]
21-Mar-2018 15:33 Iceman 29 Updated [Phase, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
22-Mar-2018 07:28 Iceman 29 Updated [Embed code]
22-Mar-2018 07:51 Iceman 29 Updated [Embed code, Narrative]
22-Mar-2018 07:53 Iceman 29 Updated [Narrative]
22-Mar-2018 08:50 Anon. Updated [Registration, Cn]
22-Mar-2018 08:51 harro Updated [Time, Registration, Cn, Source, Narrative]
22-Mar-2018 13:47 Iceman 29 Updated [Embed code]
22-Mar-2018 20:15 Geno Updated [Source, Embed code]
23-Mar-2018 21:25 Pineapple Updated [Damage]
30-Mar-2018 09:12 Iceman 29 Updated [Embed code]
18-Apr-2018 01:48 Iceman 29 Updated [Departure airport, Source, Embed code, Narrative]
18-Apr-2018 05:27 Anon. Updated [Departure airport, Source, Embed code, Narrative]

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