Saturday, March 24, 2018

The Crash of Whitsunday Air Services / Hamilton Island Air Eurocopter EC120B Colibri Helicopter VH-WII at Hardy Reef Pontoon in the Whitsundays

As has been widely reported, on Wednesday 21 March, Whitsunday Air Services / Hamilton Island Air Eurocopter EC120B Colibri helicopter VH-WII crashed while on final approach to the Hardy Reef Pontoon, about 65 kilometres north-east of the Whitsunday Islands.

VH-WII in happier times  (File photo)

Sadly, an American couple, who were on their honeymoon, were killed while a 33-year-old woman and her 34-year-old partner were also in the crash but avoided serious injury, as did the 35-year-old male pilot.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) is investigating although recovery efforts for the helicopter would be difficult as it is currently sitting 58 metres underwater in the Great Barrier Reef marine park area amid possible worsening weather conditions.

Meanwhile, the tragedy at Hardy Reef comes a day after the ATSB released its final investigation report into the partial engine power loss and ditching of Whitsunday Air Services / Hamilton Island Air Robinson R-44 helicopter VH-WRR about 49 km north of Hamilton Island Airport on Wednesday 8 November last year.

The ATSB found that:  "During the cruise, for undetermined reasons, the helicopter experienced a partial engine power loss. After unsuccessful attempts to increase power, the pilot manually deployed the emergency floatation system and performed a successful ditching."

Our thoughts are with the families and those affected by these tragic incidents.

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