The Pacific: General Aviation & Questions The place for students, instructors and charter guys in Oz, NZ and the rest of Oceania.

Firefighting helicopter down

Old 20th Sep 2023, 10:13
  #1 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Tasmania and High Wollemi
Posts: 438
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Firefighting helicopter down

Qld helicopter down whilst firefighting.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-09-...qfes/102880658






A firefighting helicopter has crashed into a dam in the Scenic Rim, in Queensland's third chopper crash this year, but the pilot was able to escape safely.

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) confirmed that the helicopter was undertaking water-bombing activities when it ditched into the water shortly before 3pm, on a private property in Tarome.

The male pilot, and sole occupant, was able to escape the wreckage and swim to shore where he is currently being assessed by paramedics.

An RACQ LifeFlight Rescue chopper airlifted the man to Toowoomba Hospital where he was treated for minor injuries and remains in a stable condition.

The helicopter was hovering close to the water, collecting some to fight a blaze in Tregony, when it hit the surface and rolled.

There was no other aircraft nearby at the time of the incident, but QFES said the chopper was one of three helicopters battling the fire at the time of the crash.

QFES confirmed the Southern Downs fire, near Cunninghams Gap, has been burning since last weekend.

The extent of the damage, and cause of the crash, is unknown at this time but QFES said it would assist the Australian Transport Safety Bureau with its investigation.​​​​​​​

Evan Christensen was first on the scene after the chopper crashed into his dam, where it remains submerged underwater.

"I was about a kilometre away at my father's house, but I could see a fair bit of it from there," the cattle farmer said.

"[The chopper] was below the dam line, filling his bucket, then there was a loud noise and spray from the dam came up, so I knew he was in trouble."

Mr Christensen said the crash made a "massive noise, and then it all just went quiet".


"I checked to see there was no one in the chopper with him, and he wanted to use the phone and make a phone call."
The chopper crashed into a dam on a private property.(ABC News)The farmer kept an eye out to make sure he didn't go into shock, but the pilot "was very calm".

"We didn't get much time to talk at all, there were a few phone calls coming in," Mr Christensen said.

"I think he knew how lucky he was to get out of it, happy to be alive."

QFES Acting Assistant Commissioner for the south-eastern region, Mark Stuart, said the pilot was "extremely lucky" to have survived.

"This highlights the dangers that all our firefighters, both on the ground and in the air, face," he said.

"He was very fortunate to get out of the wreckage and swim to shore.

"With a number of fires burning around the state, all aircraft are necessary to combat [them], so being short one aircraft will have some impact."

The rural dam had been used by firefighting helicopters in 2019 fires, but this is the first time they'd returned to the property this season.

"The dam probably covers about seven acres in size and surface area," Mr Christensen said.

"A lot of evaporation lately, [so] it's probably down about half half its volume."

Police told the farmer not to use the dam water while investigations unfold, for fear of water contamination.

"I believe insurance will be coming tomorrow to assess what's going on, and to get the chopper out.

"So I'll see what information they give me about fuel in the water, and go from there."

Last edited by Senior Pilot; 20th Sep 2023 at 11:54. Reason: Add quote: it saves following links
catseye is offline  
Old 22nd Sep 2023, 06:07
  #2 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2022
Location: Melbourne, Victoria
Posts: 443
Received 47 Likes on 36 Posts
Link to the ATSB investigation:
https://www.atsb.gov.au/publications...rt/ao-2023-044
PiperCameron is offline  
Old 23rd Sep 2023, 13:40
  #3 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: on the ground
Posts: 427
Received 24 Likes on 8 Posts
https://www.theguardian.com/australi...dam-pilot-door

Quote:An experienced pilot, Schultz credited helicopter underwater escape training for his survival.

“I’m not a very good swimmer, and I’m not very good at holding my breath,” he said.
nonsense is offline  
Old 24th Sep 2023, 11:41
  #4 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: gold coast
Posts: 115
Likes: 0
Received 11 Likes on 4 Posts
Great that he got out okay. Looking at the size of that bucket compared to the scale of most remote area bushfires. Does anyone wonder, other than being able to drop it almost on on top of anyone or a property threatened by a fire, does it make any difference to a fire?

Last year i was flying near a remote and rocky ridge just east of Narrabri, The fire was burning along the ridge as i assume it normally would for summers going back eons.. Nobody lives there. There seemed to be at least ten helicopters doing a shuttle to drop retardant on the fire. It made no difference. The choppers were like insects compared to how wide the fire was, let alone the buckets, It eventually burned itself out, or got to a place where land crews could fight it.

Each chopper would presumably have cost tens of thousands of dollars a day. There were also fire spotters. Restricted areas, ATC kerfuffle etc. It seemed to me that it is almost a political thing to be seen to be doing "something". But those buckets are tiny.. Was at Casino airfield a few years ago when there was a fire on the range and maybe half a dozen choppers had gathered in the hopes of getting a contract.

Anyway, not an expert just an observation on the size of the water bucket. NO doubt very brave and skilled pilots doing the job.
extralite is offline  
Old 25th Sep 2023, 04:50
  #5 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Australia
Posts: 119
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Extralite - Shhhh, we've built an entire industry around this, a house of cards that will topple as soon as agencies work out that ecosystems need to burn to stay healthy.
Sir HC is offline  
Old 2nd Oct 2023, 00:14
  #6 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2019
Location: Australia
Posts: 4
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
Originally Posted by Sir HC
Extralite - Shhhh, we've built an entire industry around this, a house of cards that will topple as soon as agencies work out that ecosystems need to burn to stay healthy.
To act on it is to admit others were here before ze english, and had already developed sustainable practices.
See also: 'Hero Worship'
VH_WTF is offline  
Old 2nd Oct 2023, 11:13
  #7 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Here and there
Posts: 285
Likes: 0
Received 16 Likes on 12 Posts
Originally Posted by VH_WTF
To act on it is to admit others were here before ze english, and had already developed sustainable practices.
See also: 'Hero Worship'
A question? Was the helo pilot wearinga lifejacket? A few years back there was another firebomber crash and the ATSB at the time recommended that firebomber pilots wear a lifejacket to use in the event of a ditching.
Interestin to see the ATSB report when it comes out.

ATSB. Was the pilot wearing a lifejacket?
runway16 is offline  
Old 2nd Oct 2023, 17:28
  #8 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: USA
Posts: 447
Likes: 0
Received 40 Likes on 16 Posts
Originally Posted by runway16
A question? Was the helo pilot wearinga lifejacket? A few years back there was another firebomber crash and the ATSB at the time recommended that firebomber pilots wear a lifejacket to use in the event of a ditching.
Interestin to see the ATSB report when it comes out.

ATSB. Was the pilot wearing a lifejacket?
Whatís the relevance? To be honest most firefighting helicopters you will probably see a lifejacket hung over the seat back
havick is offline  
Old 3rd Oct 2023, 10:31
  #9 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2022
Location: North Haven
Posts: 186
Received 139 Likes on 66 Posts
You can just see the media salivating over the potential disaster and catastrophy of natures gift to regeneration, no covid disaster or border closures to report on, they are just itching, poised to turn it into Australia's next telethon and star studded benefit concert, only for it to...........piss down rain. Damn.
Mr Mossberg is offline  
The following users liked this post:
Old 4th Oct 2023, 07:16
  #10 (permalink)  
601
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Brisbane, Qld, Australia
Age: 77
Posts: 1,448
Received 13 Likes on 10 Posts
Was the pilot wearing a lifejacket?
A few year back, the DPI in Qld did a report on helicopter accidents involved in feral animal control.
Something like 66% of helicopters involved in an accident while conducting these operations ended up in a dam, lake or river.
Should pilots and shooters wear a lifejacket while conducting these operations?
601 is offline  
Old 4th Oct 2023, 09:02
  #11 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2019
Location: USA
Posts: 598
Received 42 Likes on 23 Posts
Originally Posted by runway16
A question? Was the helo pilot wearinga lifejacket? A few years back there was another firebomber crash and the ATSB at the time recommended that firebomber pilots wear a lifejacket to use in the event of a ditching.
Interestin to see the ATSB report when it comes out.

ATSB. Was the pilot wearing a lifejacket?
A life jacket is problematic during an escape - it can snag and it can provide a distinct force in a direction that may be opposite the exit. If there is danger of serious injury or hypothermia that would prevent swimming to safety an inflatable one makes a lot of sense to deploy afterwards. If one is expecting an orderly exit then the traditional puffy jacket would work - but I expect that no water landing in a typical helo is orderly.
MechEngr is offline  
Old 5th Oct 2023, 05:39
  #12 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2022
Location: Melbourne, Victoria
Posts: 443
Received 47 Likes on 36 Posts
Originally Posted by MechEngr
A life jacket is problematic during an escape - it can snag and it can provide a distinct force in a direction that may be opposite the exit. If there is danger of serious injury or hypothermia that would prevent swimming to safety an inflatable one makes a lot of sense to deploy afterwards. If one is expecting an orderly exit then the traditional puffy jacket would work - but I expect that no water landing in a typical helo is orderly.
There's a reason most commercial outfits make regular HUET mandatory: there's a lot more to surviving a helo ditching than wearing a lifejacket.
PiperCameron is offline  
Old 6th Oct 2023, 02:19
  #13 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: N/A
Posts: 5,690
Received 300 Likes on 154 Posts
A life jacket is problematic during an escape
You only wear an inflatable jacket, anything that provides buoyancy inside the aircraft is problematic because it prevents escape, there are examples of bodies being found in ditched aircraft with inflated jackets, remember one in a Wessex whose body was found in the tail cone, listen to the airline brief, inflate the jacket once outside. Amen to Piper's post on HUET training, life saving.
megan is offline  
The following users liked this post:
Old 6th Oct 2023, 08:00
  #14 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 1998
Location: Ex-pat Aussie in the UK
Posts: 5,720
Received 64 Likes on 30 Posts
If you crash in water, and don’t get out, you drown.

If if you are fit enough to get out, you only need a jacket if you can’t make it to land and if you are in a dam or river you probably don’t need a jacket for that unless you are a fairly poor swimmer.
Checkboard is offline  
Old 6th Oct 2023, 13:27
  #15 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Cairns
Age: 53
Posts: 1,420
Received 25 Likes on 19 Posts
Obviously the new Part 138 regulations arenít doing anything to improve safety based on the current accident rate.

Maybe CASA need to mandate Safety Management Systems for Part 138 certificate holders.

A good SMS would determine if life jackets are required for these types of operations, opposed to CASA mandating more confusing regulations. Let the certificate holder decide.



Last edited by Duck Pilot; 6th Oct 2023 at 22:40.
Duck Pilot is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell or Share My Personal Information

Copyright © 2023 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.