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BK-117 EMS Accident In NZ


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Injured rescue helicopter pilot makes safe landing


An injured rescue helicopter pilot hovered her damaged machine for an hour before landing safely at Hood Aerodrome in Masterton last night.


The Lifeflight Trust helicopter, operated by Helilink Ltd, had earlier struck trees in the Rimutaka Ranges. It had been called out to transport an injured motorcyclist from Masterton Hospital to Wellington.


Police said today the pilot's hand was injured and possibly broken when a tree smashed the cockpit window, also injuring a doctor onboard.


The damaged helicopter limped on to Masterton where it circled above the Hood Aerodrome for about an hour while emergency services constructed a makeshift landing bed of tyres.

Masterton Fire Service station officer Gary Nielsen said fire fighters were called to the aerodrome about 10.45pm. The helicopter had received some "impact damage" to a landing skid and was unable to land because it was unbalanced.

The pilot was forced to hover above the landing site while fire fighter cut off the other skid.


Senior Sergeant Terry O'Neill of Masterton police said the all-female helicopter crew of four, including a doctor and a nurse from Kapiti Health, got out of the helicopter while the pilot hovered above the landing site.


After the skid was removed, the pilot manoeuvred the craft on to the tyres and shut the engine down without problems.

Police closed roads to the aerodrome and residents, many in their dressing gowns, came out to see what was happening.

"It was touch and go, we were relying on her being a good pilot and we only had one go at it and she was really low on fuel, but she did it," Mr Nielsen said.

"It could have been disastrous."


Wairarapa Ambulance Service station officer David Long said bits of tree were embedded in the helicopter and inside it.

Ambulance staff treated the doctor and pilot.

"She was very, very sore when the adrenaline wore off but she had managed to fly for an hour with (the injury)," Mr Long said.


A fixed wing aircraft flew from Wellington to take the injured motorcyclist and the pilot to Wellington Hospital.


The Civil Aviation Authority will investigate the incident.

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I was just looking at the photos in the paper.


Looks like trees must have crushed or ripped the right hand skid off. The right hand nose, front side and windows were pretty busted up too


So they decided to cut the left skid off so she could land the helo level onto the tires and prevent a possible roll over.


Quite an ingenious idea to use the tires, it worked a treat.


I wouldn’t have wanted to try hover for that long with a damaged hand. She did well.



Andrew Harrison

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 5 months later...

Resurrects another dead thread....


Why hasn't anyone mentioned that this pilot should not be admired for doing a good job of hovering with an injured hand, but rather she should be FIRED for recklessly endangering her aircraft and her crew.


Trees do not of their own accord rise up and smack into innocent unsuspecting helicopters.


They must instead be struck by the helicopter as the result of a pilots misjudgement or lack of skill. In any case, its not something to be admired.


You will not win the praise and admiration of  other pilots by dealing skillfully with an emergency  of your own making!

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Rotorhead - agree with you 100%. I started asking questions about this accident from those concerned and next minute get an email from the company boss saying that I am banned from visiting and any or all contact must be in writing and all answers the same way. Seems I hit an open wound.


The newspapers and TV here made her out to be a hero which is utter B/S. Basically in my opinion she was scud running and it caught her out. No one bothered to ask the question "What was she doing to cause this in the first place".


From what I hear she is working for another EMS company here in NZ. Dont even get me started on that one.  :angry:


Heli Ops :devil:

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