Preliminary investigations into a fatal helicopter crash which killed Mooloolaba man Kieran Brown have quoted witnesses who said he crashed into a pole. Picture: 9 NEWS
Preliminary investigations into a fatal helicopter crash which killed Mooloolaba man Kieran Brown have quoted witnesses who said he crashed into a pole. Picture: 9 NEWS

Coast chopper pilot ‘hit pole’ in fatal crash

Witnesses to a fatal helicopter crash which killed a Mooloolaba man will be called upon and the pilot's qualifications examined to determine what went wrong.

Preliminary investigations into the crash which claimed the life of Kieran Brown, 45, have found witnesses saw the helicopter crash into a pole and then the ground.

Mr Brown sustained fatal injuries.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau launched an investigation after the crash on March 20 last year.

A preliminary report said Mr Brown had been contracted to conduct stringing operations on an electrical transmission line from a substation to the Carrapateena mine site in South Australia.

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"In preparation for helicopter stringing operations, the draw wire had previously been strung to a pulley on pole 159 using an elevated work platform," the report read.

"When the aircraft reached pole 159, ground crew attached the draw wire to a remote hook at the end of the 30ft sling.

"The aircraft then pulled the draw wire out from a stringing machine and proceeded to pole 160 to clip the draw wire into the pulley.

"Stringing operations continued normally for poles 161, 162 and 163.

"While approaching pole 164 at about 10.17am, witnesses reported seeing the helicopter collide with the pole and impact terrain near the base of the pole.

"The pilot, who was the sole occupant, received fatal injuries."

Further details were released in the report's wreckage examination which said the helicopter came to rest about 2m from the base of the pole with its cockpit and roof sustaining "substantial" damage from the impact.

 

The accident site near pole 164 on Pernatty Station. Also visible are the previously strung poles. The direction of travel of the helicopter was from pole 163 to pole 164.
The accident site near pole 164 on Pernatty Station. Also visible are the previously strung poles. The direction of travel of the helicopter was from pole 163 to pole 164.

"The tail boom had almost entirely detached at the fuselage junction and fractured forward of the horizontal stabiliser, due to ground impact," the report read.

"Two of the main rotor blades had separated from the rotor head and came to rest next to the fuselage.

"The third blade remained attached, and had become entangled around the main rotor gearbox.

"The sling, which had separated from the Mack Pull, was found a short distance away toward Pole 163.

"The draw wire was also found to have separated from the remote hook on the sling.

"Markings on pole 164 indicated that the helicopter collided with the pole about 17m above the ground."

The bureau recovered a number of components from the accident site for further examination.

"The helicopter was not equipped with a flight data recorder or cockpit voice recorder, nor was it required to be."

The investigation is ongoing and will include consideration of Mr Brown's qualifications, experience and medical history, maintenance documentation, recovered helicopter components, operational documentation, witness interviews and electronic devices recovered from the helicopter.

Friends of Mr Brown described him as a "great" man who lived a "happy go lucky" life.


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