Drone almost collides with Westpac Rescue chopper

By on
Drone almost collides with Westpac Rescue chopper
The Bell 412. Courtesy Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service

UAV aimed for helicopter.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau is investigating a narrowly avoided collision on Saturday night between a Westpac Rescue chopper and an unmanned aerial vehicle.

One of two Bell 412 choppers the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service operates was involved in a near miss with the UAV near its Newcastle base in NSW on March 22 at about 10pm.

During the flight, according to the ATSB’s open investigation, the chopper’s crew spotted a UAV at about 1000 feet above ground level, which then turned and tracked towards the helicopter.

The crew were then forced to take “evasive action” to avoid a collision, the ATSB said. No-one was injured in the incident.

The UAV was well above its maximum allowed altitude - drone pilots need approval to operate above 400 feet.

The agency is conducting interviews with the helicopter’s crew and gathering additional information as part of its investigation, and will release a report by June.

The Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service has been operating as a 24/7 rescue team since 1981. It currently operates four aircraft - two of which are Bell 412s, as well as two BK117 choppers. All are twin-engine and single pilot machines.

The service works in unison with NSW emergency services agencies and runs out of two bases in Tamworth and Broadmeadow in Newcastle. 

Got a news tip for our journalists? Share it with us anonymously here.
Copyright © iTnews.com.au . All rights reserved.

Most Read Articles

Log In

  |  Forgot your password?