Renowned Australian landscape and nature photographer Richard Green, his wife Carolyn and friend John Davis were killed when Green’s Airbus Helicopters EC135, VH-GKK, crashed in mountainous terrain while the trio were returning to Sydney, having departed from Breeza Station, south-west of Tamworth, on November 7.
When the distinctively painted EC135 failed to arrive at the Green’s Mona Vale residence on Sydney’s northern beaches by the morning of November 9, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) were alerted and commenced a search and rescue operation that stretched from Hunter Valley to northern Sydney.
AMSA deployed one of its Dornier 328 SAR aircraft along with ten helicopters to carry out the search, which located the wreckage of VH-GKK in dense vegetation at around 7pm that evening in the Watagans National Park, south of Cessnock.
A paramedic from a rescue helicopter involved in the search was winched down and confirmed the wreckage was VH-GKK and that there were no survivors.
AMSA said weather conditions in the Hunter Valley region on November 7 were severe with localised thunderstorms and no mayday call was broadcast nor a signal from an emergency locator transmitter detected.
On his website, Green said he and Carolyn used the helicopter as a flying camper van to find, access and photographically record some of Australia’s most remote, wild and beautiful environments.
“The helicopter has been specially modified to act as a self-sufficient camp base. This allows me to remain in situ to take my photographs in the warm light of dawn or sunset,” Green said on his website.
“The EC135, which we have operated since 1999, is my pride and joy.”
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau will investigate the cause of the accident and prepare a report.