Firefighting helicopter crashes in Tas

Firefighting helicopter crashes in Tas 

07 February 2013

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Australia — A HELICOPTER pilot has been rescued after his chopper crashed while he was fighting a bushfire in Tasmania.

A Tasmanian police rescue helicopter evacuated the pilot at 5pm (AEDT) after his helicopter crashed while he was fighting the fire near Molesworth in the state’s south, police said.

The pilot was flown from the scene and taken to hospital in a stable condition.

The cause of the crash is unknown at this time.

The Tasmanian Fire Service (TFS) says the fire danger in the Molesworth area is very high with a large bushfire burning at Glen Dhu Road.

The fire is impacting the areas of Suhrs Road, Fehlbergs Road, Valley Road and Collins Cap Road to Springdale Road, it says in a statement.

TFS warns it is likely to be too late to leave the area, with residents advised to activate their bushfire survival plan.

Spot fires may threaten homes earlier than the main fire front.

The TFS says there may be embers, smoke and ash falling on Molesworth, Glenlusk and Collinsvale, Myrtle Forest Road, and Old Springdale Road.

TFS said an out-of-control fire on the Huon Highway at Franklin, south of Hobart, has prompted a high fire danger rating for the area.

TFS says the fire may now affect the Huon Highway, Castle Forbes Road and Fleurtys Road to the south of Franklin.

Communities south of Franklin and Castle Forbes Bay may experience embers, smoke and ash falling on them.

A low-moderate fire danger rating has also been made for the Lefroy area, between Bridport and George Town on the north coast, with a large bushfire burning out of control at Shaw Street.

The fire may affect the communities of the Lefroy township and properties southeast of Lefroy are also at risk from smoke and embers, the TFS said.

The 52-year-old Hobart man crashed into a clearing near the bushfire before being rescued.

His helicopter was one of a team of four choppers water-bombing the Molesworth blaze that started on February 6.

Police said the man was airlifted to the Royal Hobart Hospital for assessment and was shaken by the incident but not seriously hurt.

The Air Transport Safety Bureau has been advised of the crash. Investigators will look into the cause of the accident.

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