One dead in bushfire chopper crash

One dead in bushfire chopper crash

9 December 2009

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Australia —

A helicopter has crashed during a firefighting operation on the New South Wales mid-north coast, killing one person on board.

A second person, who police say is the pilot, is being treated for head, chest and back injuries and is in a critical condition.

The accident happened in dense rainforest near the Dorrigo National Park, west of Coffs Harbour just before midday. Rescue crews are at a private property on Dome Road at Dorrigo.

The helicopter was contracted by the National Parks and Wildlife Service and Rural Fire Service (RFS) out of Glenn Innes to map a number of bushfires sparked by lightning strikes overnight.

It was using the helibase at the National Park when it crashed in thick fog at about 11.40am AEDT.

It is understood the passenger of the helicopter was with the National Parks Service.

Investigators from the Australian Air Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) and The Civil Aviation safety Authority (CASA) are on their way to the crash site.

Police will prepare a report for the coroner about the accident.

Choppers collide

Yesterday, two water bombing helicopters were involved in a mid-air collision as they battled a blaze near Bathurst in the New South Wales central west.

The Rural Fire Service says the choppers’ tail rotors clipped, forcing them both to be grounded.

No-one was injured.

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