ASN logo
ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 206889
This information is added by users of ASN. Neither ASN nor the Flight Safety Foundation are responsible for the completeness or correctness of this information. If you feel this information is incomplete or incorrect, you can submit corrected information.

Type:Silhouette image of generic AS55 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Aerospatiale AS 355F-2
Owner/operator:NSW Police Service
Registration: VH-PHM
MSN: 5150
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 3
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:1km S of Little Beach, NSW -   Australia
Phase: Standing
Departure airport:1km S of Little Beach, NSW
Destination airport:Little Beach, NSW
Investigating agency: BASI
The Police rescue helicopter was being flown for the purpose of conducting the search for and rescue of a seriously injured rock fisherman in the MacMasters Beach area, south of Terrigal. It departed Bankstown at about 0555 ESuT and arrived at the command post at Little Beach at about 0620. Shortly after, a paramedic was embarked and a search initiated. The injured person was located about 650 metres south of the command post. The helicopter was flown back to Little Beach, where a crewmember disembarked and returned to the location of the injured person. It then was landed on a nearby rock ledge near the waters edge, where both the paramedic and the observer left the helicopter to assist the fisherman. The helicopter then took off and moved away to minimise noise and rotor wash in the immediate area. The pilot reported that at that time the wind was calm, the visibility unlimited, and there was some wave action against the lower of two rock shelves. He asked the ground party by radio if a 'Stokes' litter was required for the retrieval of the fisherman, but was advised by the paramedic that this would be unnecessary as the fisherman could be carried down to the rock shelf, close to the original landing point. The helicopter was brought to a low hover to allow the patient and observer to board. After receiving a clearance to depart from the paramedic, who remained on the ground, the pilot commenced a takeoff. At a skid height of about 12 ft above the rock shelf, the entire aircraft was engulfed by a very large wave. The takeoff was aborted and the helicopter was stabilised in a hover. Almost immediately, it was struck by a second wave, resulting in a double engine flameout. The helicopter was landed on the rockshelf, where it was then struck by a third wave, which rolled it onto its side and forced it against a low rock face. After the helicopter had come to rest, all three persons on board were able to escape, assisted by the paramedic. The pilot reported that the sea state then returned to its original, relative calm. However, after a further 80 minutes, another series of very large waves struck the helicopter, resulting in further damage. Significant Factors 1. Deceptive sea state. 2. Desirability of rescuing injured person with minimum delay.


Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: BASI
Status: Investigation completed
Download report: Final report

Revision history:

01-Mar-2018 09:16 Pineapple Added

Corrections or additions? ... Edit this accident description

The Aviation Safety Network is an exclusive service provided by:
Quick Links:

CONNECT WITH US: FSF Facebook FSF Twitter FSF Youtube FSF LinkedIn FSF Instagram

©2022 Flight Safety Foundation

701 N. Fairfax St., Ste. 250
Alexandria, Virginia 22314