Newspaper article Tweed Daily News (Tweed Heads, Australia)

Probe Result 'Long Wait'

Newspaper article Tweed Daily News (Tweed Heads, Australia)

Probe Result 'Long Wait'

Article excerpt

Byline: Kristy Martin

IT could be months before authorities know the cause of yesterday's fatal helicopter crash at Gold Coast Airport, in which a 72-year-old pilot died.

The Robinson 22 helicopter, carrying just the pilot, crashed into bushland near a runway and just metres from the Tugun Bypass about 10.25am.

It is understood the pilot, a Sunshine Coast man, was doing solo flight training ahead of getting his pilot's licence.

Police said the helicopter took off from the airport and was in the air for 30 minutes when it crashed on its way back.

The pilot was trapped for about 15 minutes and paramedics said he suffered multiple fractured bones and two collapsed lungs.

He was declared dead at the scene about 10.55am.

Investigators from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) and the Air Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB), along with police forensic experts, yesterday examined the crash site.

Helibiz, who offer flight lessons from their airport base, are believed to be the operators of the helicopter.

The company's chief pilot Dan Egan yesterday said they wouldn't comment on the crash.

"It's a small industry and it wouldn't be fair," he said.

Four investigators from the ATSB in Brisbane arrived at the scene yesterday afternoon.

Ian Sangston, acting director of aviation safety, said it could take as long as 12 months before a cause was found.

He said the ATSB team included a pilot investigator, two engineering investigators and a human factors investigator.

"They got there this afternoon and could be there for the next three or four days," Mr Sangston said.

He said the investigators would initially collect perishable evidence.

"That could include things like markings on the ground, anything the rain might wash away," he said.

"We often recover items from an aircraft, which we take to our laboratories to break down and have a look inside. …

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