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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 220
Last updated: 21 April 2019
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Time:15:24 EST
Type:Silhouette image of generic B06 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Bell 206B JetRanger
Registration: VH-GEO
C/n / msn: 334
Fatalities:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:41km NW of Grafton, NSW -   Australia
Phase: En route
Departure airport:Carrara, Gold Coast, Queensland
Destination airport:New England Ranges, Northern Tablelands, NSW
At about 1000 EST, the pilot and passenger departed from the airstrip at Carrara where the helicopter is normally hangared. From information supplied by persons who knew the pilot, it appears likely that he flew to a remote section of the New England Ranges west of the Clarence river.

At about 15:24 EST three people were mustering cattle just south of an 11,000-V power line spanning the Clarence river. They saw a helicopter approach from the south and stopped to watch it fly out of sight to the north-west following the course of the river. Moments later, one of them heard the sound of a crash. Upon investigation they found the high-voltage power line was down and saw parts of the helicopter in the river.

The investigation found that the helicopter had struck and severed the lowest of three high voltage wires spanning the river. The top surface of one main rotor blade had impacted the wire before the wire became entangled in the tail rotor. The evidence indicated that the helicopter started to break apart before impact with the water. The three-phase power line had a span of 428 metres which drooped to 87 feet at its lowest point over the river. The power line sloped from the western bank to a much lower bank east of the river. Both supports were obscured by trees when viewed from the south-east at low altitude. At the time of the accident the sun's azimuth was approximately 20 degrees west of the alignment of that particular reach of the river. The sun was elevated some 16-17 degrees above the horizon.

Evidence from persons in the aviation community who knew the pilot indicated that he had a love of low flying. The pilot was not approved by CASA (Civil Aviation Safety Authority) to conduct low flying operations.

The weather in the local area was fine with a clear sky and light winds. Pathology tests revealed the pilot had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.098g/100ml. Specialist medical opinion indicated that this concentration was most likely the result of alcohol consumption.

ATSB Conclusions:
The following factors were considered relevant to the development of the accident:
1. The pilot was flying the helicopter at low altitude.
2. The pilot was probably affected by alcohol.
3. The pilot apparently did not see the powerline in time to take adequate avoiding action



Revision history:

21-Jan-2008 10:00 ASN archive Added
11-Jan-2009 10:23 harro Updated
01-May-2014 21:50 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Operator, Location, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
01-May-2014 21:51 Dr. John Smith Updated [Narrative]

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