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Three killed in South Australia Helicopter crash

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Three killed in South Australia Helicopter crash

Old 19th Aug 2011, 03:51
  #21 (permalink)  
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The scene - photos by Trevor Wright of WrightsAir.

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Old 19th Aug 2011, 08:25
  #22 (permalink)  
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Another friend gone. I first met Gary when he was on an exchange posting to the AAC in Germany then again when I moved to Australia and we met at various heliports along the East Coast over the years. He gave me much good advice and friendship. Great pilot and a good man. RIP Gary, you will be missed.
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Old 19th Aug 2011, 11:25
  #23 (permalink)  
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It was most definately VH-NTV,...the AS355 from Sydney. RIP

Film Helicopters Australia
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Old 19th Aug 2011, 12:28
  #24 (permalink)  
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ABC helicopter crash: pilot Gary Ticehurst, reporter Paul Lockyer and cameraman John Bean are all feared dead

Ticehurst, a well-known media pilot, had worked for the ABC for more than 25 years. Bean, a Brisbane-based cameraman, had worked throughout Australia, the Pacific and in Washington in a 20-year career at the broadcaster.

The ABC's managing director, Mark Scott said: "This has been the longest of nights and we fear it will be the saddest of days."
Australian news team feared dead in ABC helicopter crash | World news | guardian.co.uk

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Old 19th Aug 2011, 12:47
  #25 (permalink)  
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The TV news tonight said the investigation could take a year which doesn't surprise me looking at the burnt out remains.
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Old 19th Aug 2011, 13:13
  #26 (permalink)  
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Condolences to Gary's family & friends.

Gary was a larger than life character in the indusrty. He will be missed.

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Old 19th Aug 2011, 13:38
  #27 (permalink)  
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Nigel, I see you've suggested a flock of birds as a consideration in the cause of this tragedy. Brave chap for, as you know, Rotorheads harbours a clear divide between speculators and non-speculators. Personally, I believe the consideration of potential factors surrounding such incidents to be only natural among professional aviators - while of course awaiting the facts prior to drawing any conclusions.

Since the wx was fine in the area at the time then that isn't a consideration but, looking at the surrounding terrain it shouldn't have been an issue even though it was after last light and dark.

On a side-note, those who have been in the industry a while will know that the rotary-wing community suffers more losses than just about any other branch of professional aviation. A sad reality which I hope will one day change.
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Old 19th Aug 2011, 18:06
  #28 (permalink)  
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R.I.P Gary Ticehurst & ABC Crew

Unfortunatly it brings back sad memories of another simiar accident about 29 years ago when the crew of a news chopper were killed near Lang Lang in Victoria when their Bell 206 suffered LTE. Investigation: 198202438 - Bell Helicopter 206B , VH-AJD, Lang Lang, Victoria, 7 January 1982

My Best Wishes go out to the families of those killed in such a tragic accident. Gary Ticehurst was a well known and well respected member of the aviation community. May he Rest In Peace.
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Old 20th Aug 2011, 08:18
  #29 (permalink)  
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On Channel 7 News tonight, an eyewitness from the tour group says there was a fireball underneath the helicopter before it went down behind the sand dunes. If that is correct, and thinking of a Squirrel design, could it be a faulty fuel pump that caught fire? Or something like that? Unsure what equipment that ABC machine had fitted underneath it, or what fuel system is like on a twin squirrel?
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Old 20th Aug 2011, 09:13
  #30 (permalink)  
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KP, I think that the 'eyewitnesses' reports are changing daily, if not hourly, and different channels and newspapers are cherrypicking a report that suits them. Very early days to be forming opinions

The ABC have this report today:

Investigators have begun the grim task of sifting through the helicopter wreckage in the South Australian outback where three of the ABC's most-respected newsmen died on Thursday evening.

Journalist Paul Lockyer, cameraman John Bean and pilot Gary Ticehurst died after their chopper crashed near Lake Eyre while they were working on news and feature projects in the region.

The trio were remembered earlier today at a memorial service in the South Australian town of William Creek, where about 100 people paid their respects.

Prior to the crash they were interviewing tourists on a small island near Lake Eyre. After taking off, witnesses reported seeing the helicopter making an unusual manoeuvre before dropping out of sight.

The Australian Transport and Safety Bureau says it will take several days search through the wreckage about 150 kilometres north-west of Marree.

The bureau's Joe Hattley says four investigators who travelled to the site this morning are methodically sorting through the debris.

Mr Hattley says the investigators are looking at parts including the engines and helicopter rotor blades.

"They'll try and determine what components might be useful for the ATSB to bring back for further examination and they'll also conduct a site map to try and to determine how the helicopter came to the ground," he said.

"We'll also be looking for any embedded electronic devices. Helicopters like this carry devices such as GPS equipment, that sort of thing. If we're fortunate we can download the information and get an idea of the track and altitude and where the helicopter was going.

"We're always hopeful that we'll get enough evidence to tell us what the nature of the accident was."

The bureau's Richard Batt says getting to the remote site has been a logistical nightmare, but the team is well-experienced.

"We have a team with investigators with a background as pilots, operational investigators, also aircraft engineers, technical specialists, so a full range of expertise will be bought to the investigation," he said.

"The team are well-experienced and quick to cope with the conditions that they'll find."

South Australia Police Assistant Commissioner Neil Smith says burned wreckage was spread over a wide area at the remote crash site.

He says heavy rainfall in the area had made it difficult for local officers to reach the site and removing the bodies would be difficult.

It could take a year before the cause of the crash is known.

The ABC has been granted special permission to fly the Australian flag at half mast at its offices around the country as a sign of mourning.

William Creek, which is an air base for flights over the lake, held a memorial service for the trio as part of events to mark the official opening of the air strip.

Outback pilot Trevor Wright spoke at the service, which was attended by about 100 people in the remote region.

He extended his sympathies to the families of Lockyer, Bean and Ticehurst and to the broader ABC. "Our thoughts are with you," he said.

He spoke with affection about the trio. "They were very well respected ... and to see this number of people turn up is just fantastic," he said.

Earlier, Mr Wright said Lockyer was highly regarded amongst locals for his role in highlighting rural issues.

"Paul was at home whether he was in the city or the bush... he had a fantastic rapport with everyone," he said.

"It was a tragic accident and [given] his relationship with Lake Eyre and William Creek, we feel it's fitting that we have this memorial service for him."

A priest from Coober Pedy led the service, which was attended by locals, pastoralists and those in the town.

The experienced ABC crew had been working on news and feature projects in the region when their Sydney-based chopper went down.

Tributes flow
Yesterday, ABC managing director Mark Scott said the ABC feared the worst and paid tribute to the men, who he called "three news gatherers at the peak of their craft".

"These guys loved getting out and about and finding great Australian stories and bringing them to the Australian people," he said.

"That's what they've been doing the last few days and their loss would be a terrible loss to all of us here."

On Friday morning John Bean's wife, Landline reporter Pip Courtney, said he was "the most wonderful husband a girl could wish for".

"Devastated, broken, I will be lost without him," she said in a statement.

"I fell in love with him on the road and adored working with him. He was so, so talented, I loved watching him at work. So privileged. I can't believe he's gone. Our families are devastated."

Lockyer's wife Maria also issued a statement.

"For 38 years Paul has been my soul mate, a loving husband and father and a loyal friend to many. He will be in our thoughts every day," she said.

The family of veteran pilot Ticehurst said he was a hero.

"It’s not every day you get to meet a legitimate hero so we, his loved ones, are eternally grateful to have spent a lifetime with one," the family said in a statement.

Three of the best

Lockyer was one of the ABC's most experienced journalists with an award-winning career spanning more than 40 years locally and internationally.

He had been a correspondent in Washington, Singapore and throughout Asia and won a Logie Award for best TV reporter.

His work in recent years focused on regional and rural issues and his work on the Queensland floods this year won universal acclaim.

Ticehurst is a legend among media pilots - he has served the ABC for more than 25 years and was well liked by all who flew with him.

He had served as the lead pilot for the ABC in Sydney since the mid 1980s and was a larger-than-life figure who was known by everyone in the news room.

Brisbane-based cameraman Bean has worked for the ABC for 20 years across a diverse range of programs in news and entertainment, including international assignments.

He travelled extensively throughout Australia and the Pacific region for work and last year completed a stint in the Washington Bureau.

The tragedy is the worst to hit the ABC since four staff members died in a light plane crash west of Rockhampton in 1983.
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Old 20th Aug 2011, 10:13
  #31 (permalink)  
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Only met Gary once and spoke to him asking for advice on a few occasions quite some years ago. His kind words helped in formulating our discussions to achieve the Part 48 mustering dispensation which endures today, and other issues before that.

He personified a true industry representative and gentleman for whom anything was never too much trouble to attend to.

He, his cobber Dan Tyler and others steered the OZ HAA for many a year and we sure need people as such today to mentor such industry groups.

Anyone overseas would be able to tap into a replay of last nights ABC 7.30 report for a most fitting and poignant tribute to he and his colleagues.

Deepest sympathies to all families and friends from this little corner of the world.
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Old 20th Aug 2011, 10:36
  #32 (permalink)  
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Gary's legacy


I'm sure that not many people within the helicopter industry would be aware of the significant amount of work done by Gary. His calm, quiet presence and expertise combined with Dan's wordsmithing got the industry out of some serious trouble more than once.

Hope BASI can figure out what the hell happened.

A very sad day.
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Old 20th Aug 2011, 23:53
  #33 (permalink)  
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Gary was a great help to me when we were working to establish "flexible" airspace in the Sydney Basin. A great guy and a pleasure to fly with!


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Old 22nd Aug 2011, 12:29
  #34 (permalink)  
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Late dinner today, just happened to flick on the tv - question time in the house - suspended for a short while as messages of respect for and condolences for family and friends of Gary Paul and John from PM, Leaders of Libs and Nationals followed by speaker asking house to rise for minute of silence then a motion of condolence from the leader of house business. A high mark of respect and all exceptionally well delivered. Have to wait a week for Hansard I think?
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Old 22nd Aug 2011, 22:43
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ATSB image.

provided for info not speculation.

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Old 22nd Aug 2011, 23:00
  #36 (permalink)  
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Full respect for the dead and credit to them for their achievements.

However, and without trying to start any kind of argument, I can't help feeling that the politicians commenting in parliament and on TV about the tragedy are doing so at least as much for PR reasons as for their sincere personal feelings on the matter.
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Old 23rd Aug 2011, 00:15
  #37 (permalink)  
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Preliminary ATSB report is here.

Not a lot so far, but the usual sold foundation for a further more extensive report in about 30 days is laid.


On 18 August 2011, Aérospatiale Industries AS355F2 (AS355) helicopter, registered VH-NTV (NTV), was operating in an area south-east of Lake Eyre, South Australia (SA). On board were the pilot and two passengers. The helicopter landed on an island in the Cooper Creek inlet, about 145 km north of Marree, SA at 1715 Central Standard Time.

At about 1900, the pilot departed the island to take the occupants back to their accommodation at a property about 47 km north of Marree. It was reported that, soon after takeoff, the helicopter collided with terrain. The aircraft was substantially damaged and there were no survivors.

The weather conditions were reported to have been fine and clear at the time. Sunset in the area was at 1758 and the end of evening civil twilight at 1822. Moon rise was at 2158. The aircraft was equipped to conduct operations at night under the visual flight rules.

The ATSB dispatched a team of four investigators to the site. Due to the remote location, the on-site examination was unable to commence until 20 August. The wreckage was located about 3 km east-north-east of the island in Cooper Creek. The examination identified all major components and extremities of the helicopter at the accident site. The wreckage trail was 60 m long and indicated that the aircraft was travelling in an easterly direction at the time of impact. Much of the wreckage was damaged by a post-impact fire.

The on-site examination is continuing and several components will be recovered from the site for technical examination. These include both engines, a number of components from the helicopter's flight control system, some of the flight instruments, and the helicopter's global positioning system unit.

In addition, a number of witnesses have been or are being interviewed, and the following data is being obtained for later examination:
the helicopter's maintenance and airworthiness records
helicopter operational information
records of the pilot's experience and medical status.
Witnesses or anyone else with information about the accident are asked to contact the ATSB on 1800 020 616.

The AS355 is a light utility helicopter powered by two turboshaft engines. The accident was the first fatal accident involving a twin-engine helicopter in Australia since 1986, and the first involving an AS355 in Australia.

At the time of the accident, there were 10 AS355 helicopters registered in Australia (including NTV). NTV was manufactured in 1988 and first registered in Australia in February 1989.

The investigation is continuing. The ATSB will be issuing a Preliminary Factual Report within 30 days of the accident.
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Old 23rd Aug 2011, 02:26
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Big_Johnno, interesting that you brought up the Lang Lang crash. I was talking about that a month or two back. Came across a local farmer who's house they flew over moments before the crash. He reported
to the police hearing a large bang of sorts and the aircraft flying out of control shortly after. His comments were not considered anywhere in the investigation and pilot error cited as a contributor.
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Old 26th Aug 2011, 10:09
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Gary's Memorial Service

UPDATE August 24, 2011: A memorial service for Gary Ticehurst will be held in Sydney at Rushcutters Bay Park, near the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, on Tuesday, August 30 at 11.30am. The service is open to anyone who would like to attend and is being held by the family and the ABC.

A reel of Ticehurst's feature film work is being compiled by Matt Graham and will be screened at the memorial service. He is trying to locate images (still or moving) of Gary and his work. If you have contributions, these can be sent to Matt Graham, who can be contacted on 0430 572 770.

On behalf of Gary's widow Theresa, daughter Michelle and son Matthew, they would like to advise CYCA members that a memorial service for Gary will be held in Rushcutters Bay Park on Tuesday 30 August 2011, commencing at 11:30am.

With the cooperation of Woollahra Municpal Council, the northern section of Rushcutters Bay Park will be open for car parking on a first come, first served basis for guests attending the memorial service from 0830 hours. Cars will need to be removed by 1800 hours.
Cruising Yacht Club of Australia
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Old 30th Aug 2011, 09:56
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A magic memorial, both in attendance and presentation. So many memories

Gary Ticehurst Memorial

Filling up, there was standing room only and 1,000+ in the tent. The noise level later at the CYC bar was enough to drown out even the noise of cameramen

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