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Learner helicopter pilot survives write-off crash in Queensland

written by Adam Thorn | April 24, 2020

A learner pilot escaped from the wreckage of his helicopter after it flipped on its side while attempting to land at Townsville Helicopters’ training facility in Garbutt, Queensland.

The unnamed man, flying alone, freed himself despite initially being trapped. After an emergency services examination, he declined to go to hospital on Wednesday despite suffering from shock and minor injuries.

Sergeant Matthew Lyons said, “Speaking to the owner of the company and other people on scene, I’m led to believe the helicopter is a write-off. It’s suffered extensive damage to the rotors and rear rotor as well.

“He had been flying earlier this morning and he was coming in to land after that flight, and he experienced trouble upon landing.

“This person is very lucky to be alive today and he’s talking with the people here to help ascertain what actually occurred.


“Any aviation incident where anything crashes out of the sky – and you walk away from it – you count your lucky stars.”

A spokesperson from Townsville Helicopters, based at Townsville International Airport, told The Townsville Bulletin the helicopter, thought to be a Robinson R44, belonged to the company, but the pilot did not.

The cause of the crash is still unknown.


“He’s been breath-tested as part of investigations, and that’s as far as that goes,” said Lyons.

“Police will be as a matter of courtesy notifying the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, and Civil Aviation Safety Authority will also be informed of this incident.

“We’ve spoken to the owner of the company of the helicopter. They’re conducting their own investigations around the incident and providing support to the pilot of this helicopter.

“Reports have been lodged in accordance with all regulations.”

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