Thursday, March 23, 2017

Hughes 369E, ZK-HRK: Accident occurred February 19, 2017 in Raetihi, New Zealand

NTSB Identification: WPR17WA069
Accident occurred Sunday, February 19, 2017 in Raetihi, New Zealand
Aircraft: Hughes 369E, registration:
Injuries: 1 Serious.

The foreign authority was the source of this information.

On February 19, 2017, at 0930 local time, a McDonnell Douglas Hughes 369E, ZK-HRK, operated by Precision Helicopters Ltd. collided with a ridgeline in the Waimarino Forest near Raetihi, New Zealand during an external load operation. The helicopter was being operated in accordance with the pertinent civil regulations of the government of New Zealand. The helicopter was substantially damaged and the pilot, the sole occupant, was seriously injured.

The investigation is under the jurisdiction of the Government of New Zealand. This report is for information purposes only and contains only information released by the Government of New Zealand. Further information pertaining to this accident may be obtained from:

Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand

Safety Investigations Unit
Level 15, Asteron Centre
55 Featherston St
Wellington 6011, New Zealand
Tel: (64) 04-560-9400 

A helicopter has gone down in a hilly area in the Ruapehu District on February 19th,  the pilot has survived, but was seriously injured in the crash.

He was the only person onboard when the chopper went down at about 9:30am into the forest near Raetihi.

Ruapehu District Council chief executive Clive Manley said the man was flying one of two helicopters that were transporting beehives in the area when the accident happened.

He said fortunately the man's injuries were not life-threatening and expressed his relief there were no fatalities in the crash.

Emergency services were called to the site of the crash in Waimarino Forest, near Raetihi, Ruapehu, shortly after this morning's accident.

Due to the remoteness of the area, fire, ambulance and police, took more than 40 minutes to reach the wreckage and the pilot.

Palmerston North rescue operator Lance Burns said the chopper couldn't land and the 29-year-old man had to be winched out.

"It was steep terrain and a lot of gorse bush, but we got him out as safely and quickly as we could."

He said it took the Palmerston North Rescue Helicopter about 22 minutes to get to where the man had crashed.

A rescue hoist was used to drop the onboard paramedic down to the injured man who was stabilised on site.

Once stable, together with the St John paramedic, the pilot was hoisted back up to the waiting helicopter, before being airlifted to Whanganui Hospital a little after midday.

The rescue chopper landed at the hospital at 12:45 and the injured pilot was transferred to its emergency department.

A Whanganui hospital spokesman said later in the afternoon the man was in a serious but stable condition.

Earlier today Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand spokeswoman Tania Shingleton said the rescue helicopter had flown in from Palmerston North to the crash site.

"The pilot is conscious and breathing," she said.

St John's spokesman Mark Tregoweth confirmed ambulance staff had treated the pilot at the scene, before he was airlifted to Whanganui Hospital with serious injuries.

Police said in a statement the pilot was the only person on board. Staff are currently supporting his family.

An investigation into the cause of the crash would be handled by the Transport Accident Investigation Commission.


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