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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 165146
Last updated: 23 June 2019
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Date:22-MAR-1968
Time:12:20 LT
Type:Silhouette image of generic UH1 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Bell 204B
Owner/operator:Helicopter Utilities P/L
Registration: VH-UTW
C/n / msn: 2050
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 6
Other fatalities:3
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Category:Accident
Location:Barracouta platform, Bass Strait, 36 mi ESE of West Sale, VIC -   Australia
Phase: Landing
Nature:Non Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Barracouta platform, Bass Strait
Destination airport:Barracouta platform, Bass Strait
Narrative:
At approximately 1215 hours VH-UTW took off with a party of television cameramen aboard for a short local flight around the platform for photographic purposes. Approximately five minutes later an approach from the east to the Barracouta helipad was made for the purpose of landing. The helicopter made a normal approach which terminated in the hover position with the heels of the undercarriage pontoons approximately four feet above the helipad surface. From this position directional control was lost and, after making contact with the helipad on the pontoons, it slewed through an arc of approximately 160 degrees in a clockwise direction as viewed from above. The helicopter came to rest on the helipad with its tail fin slightly over-hanging the western edge of the pad (Refer to Appendix A). The undercarriage had distorted in such away as to allow the main rotor blades to make contact with the helipad surf ace during the rundown period and this induced a fragmentation of the extremities of these blades. During the period between the initial loss of directional control and the final stopping of the main rotor blades, serious injuries were caused to seven of the eleven members of the press party who were observing the landing of the helicopter from positions on the helipad and on it's access stairway. In respect of three persons the injuries proved to be fatal but none of the six occupants of the helicopter was injured.

The cause of this accident was that, during the assembly of the tail rotor 41 hours 50 minutes of flight time prior to this accident, the inadvertent omission or loss of a trunnion thrust washer was not detected.

It is understood that persons normally employed on the platform are instructed that they must not be on the helipad whilst helicopters are taking off or landing but the evidence shows that no briefing was given to members of the press party in relation to their presence or otherwise on the helipad during landing and take-off operations.

Barracouta Platform was jointly owned and controlled by Esso Exploration and Production Australia Inc., and Haematite Petroleum Pty. Ltd.

Sources:

http://www.atsb.gov.au/publications/investigation_reports/1968/aair/1968-bell-204b-vh-utw.aspx
http://www.gippslandtimes.com.au/story/5306191/three-killed-in-bass-strait-50-years-on/
Aviation Safety Digest July 1968


Images:

Photo of VH-UTW courtesy AirHistory.net


Sydney - Kingsford Smith International (YSSY / SYD)
April 1970; (c) David Carter


Photo: Department of Civil Aviation, Australia


Photo: Department of Civil Aviation, Australia

Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
01-Apr-2014 00:35 Dr. John Smith Added
01-Apr-2014 00:37 Dr. John Smith Updated [Date]
08-May-2014 22:37 Dr. John Smith Updated [Cn, Location, Source, Embed code, Damage, Narrative]
30-Jun-2014 21:48 TB Updated [Operator, Location, Nature, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Embed code, Narrative]
27-Mar-2018 16:12 Aerossurance Updated [Time, Location, Departure airport, Source, Narrative]
27-Mar-2018 16:18 Aerossurance Updated [Narrative]
27-Mar-2018 19:47 Aerossurance Updated [Narrative]
04-Nov-2018 19:48 harro Updated [Source, Photo]
04-Nov-2018 19:49 harro Updated [Photo]

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