среда, 29 февраля 2012 г.

Vic: Divers search for pilot after helicopter crashes into Yarra


AAP General News (Australia)
12-29-2007
Vic: Divers search for pilot after helicopter crashes into Yarra

By Julie Tullberg

MELBOURNE, Dec 29 AAP - Police divers are searching for a pilot feared dead on the
bottom of the Yarra River's shipping channels after his helicopter crashed.

The helicopter's co-pilot was rescued by a boat driver who rushed to the scene after
seeing the crash at about 6.30pm (AEDT) today.

Victoria Police's search and rescue divers plan to work around the clock to recover
the missing pilot, who is believed to have drowned after the cockpit filled with water.

Jay Hall, a Leisure Boating Club Melbourne maintenance engineer, rescued the co-pilot,
whose first name is Jason and is aged in his 40s, and who was struggling in the water
after being injured in the high-impact crash near the Pier 35 marina.

Mr Hall said he watched a "quick blur", the black R440 helicopter ditching into the
water, and then heard a loud bang from its rotors.

The helicopter, which was on its way to the Caribbean Gardens in Melbourne's east,
was flying low after it had taken off from a nearby helipad.

Mr Hall and his friend Wayne Williams rushed to the crash in a sports boat to rescue
the helicopter's occupants within a minute.

Another friend called triple-0 as soon as the helicopter crashed.

Mr Hall said he spotted the co-pilot "about 10 metres from shore ... he was treading water.

"We threw a life buoy out to him and he was able to climb up the ladder.

"He was pretty shaken up ... he was in shock. He was hit on the back of the head and nose."

Mr Hall said he treated Jason's nose and head to try to stop the bleeding and kept
him protected from a strong wind.

The helicopter went down on the pilot's side, which left little hope for the missing
pilot, Mr Hall said.

Police divers were called to the scene in a bid to recover the pilot, Mr Hall said.

"The cockpit would have been flooded after he opened the door (to escape the wreckage)," he said.

Mr Hall said Jason saw a light on the dashboard, possibly an oil engine light, which
prompted him to abandon the cockpit as soon as it crashed.

"Seeing the light on the dashboard, that's what made him jump," he said.

The co-pilot was taken to The Alfred hospital in a stable condition, receiving treatment
for lacerations to the head.

Leisure Boating Club Melbourne general manager Joy King said her staff had responded
quickly to the crash and played a key role in the co-pilot's rescue, describing their
actions as heroic.

AAP jat/cjh

KEYWORD: HELICOPTER NIGHTLEAD (REISSUING)

2007 AAP Information Services Pty Limited (AAP) or its Licensors.

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