Men uninjured after chopper crash
THREE men miraculously escaped injury yesterday when the helicopter they were in crash-landed on a precarious mountain ridge in the Mount Barney National Park south of Warwick.
The Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter was called from Lismore to search for the white Robinson helicopter about 2pm, after the pilot reported getting into difficulty on his mobile phone.
A Westpac spokesman said initial reports were that the downed craft was somewhere “in the Kyogle region”.
The helicopter, understood to be from a Caloundra-based flying school, was on a training flight.
Details of how the crash happened remained unclear at time of publishing last night, with the small helicopter eventually found on its side on the top of a sheer ridge.
The three men on board, aged in their 30s and 40s, were uninjured and sitting calmly a short distance from the crashed chopper when the Westpac helicopter arrived.
The Westpac chopper, unable to land on the ridge, winched the men to safety.
The men were flown to Woodenbong and were later taken to the Gold Coast to be interviewed by police.
Woodenbong Police Senior Constable Michael Chaffey, who spoke with the men after they were flown down from the mountain, said the pilot was from Cedar Creek, north west of the Gold Coast.
The other two men were from Caloundra.
A spokesman for the Australian Transport Safety Bureau said the bureau was aware of the crash.
However, because there were no injuries or deaths, there were no plans to send investigators to the scene.
There were unconfirmed reports last night the chopper belonged to Caloundra flight school Chopperline, part of the troubled Grant Kenny Aviation group.
A spokeswoman told the Daily News she could not comment on the ownership of the helicopter.
A helicopter owned by Grant Kenny Aviation crashed in the Bungle Bungle ranges in Western Australia in September 2008, killing all four on board.
The logistical challenge at the scene of the Mount Barney crash today will be how to retrieve the wreckage.
Pam Hardgrave, whose farm-stay property Lillydale borders the Mount Barney National Park, said yesterday the region was “extremely rugged” and difficult to access by all but the fittest and most experienced climbers.