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On June 5, 2002, about 1600 Australian Eastern Standard Time (EST), a Bell 206B(II), VH-PHA, operated by Laynhapuy Homelands Association, Inc., of Nhulunbuy (Gove), Northern Territories, crashed while on an aerial survey mission about 87 nautical miles southwest of Nhulunbuy, Australia. Of the five persons on board, four were reported fatally injured. The helicopter was destroyed in the impact and substantial post-impact fire. The helicopter was being operated in daylight, under the regulation and authority of the Civil Aviation Authority, Australia.
The helicopter was reported overdue on June 5, and found in an aerial search about 1300 EST, June 6. Initial reports indicate that the helicopter evidenced being in an autorotational descent at the time of impact with a tree. The survivor reported hearing a beeping sound just before a quick descent and impact.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) has notified the Transport Safety Board, Canada, and the NTSB's Office of Aviation Safety, as well as the Product Safety Offices at Bell Helicopter, Ft. Worth, Texas, and Rolls Royce Engine Company, Indianapolis, Indiana. Rolls Royce has an investigator on standby to assist the Investigator-in-Charge, ATSB.
For further information, please contact the Investigator-in-Charge:
Mr. Brett Leyshon
Senior Transport Safety Investigator (Aviation), ATSB
PO Box 967, Civic Square ACT 2608
tel. +61 2 6274 6452 / fax +61 2 6247 1290; www.atsb.gov.au
U.S. Accredited Representative:
Thomas R. Conroy
Air Safety Investigator
National Transportation Safety Board
Office of Aviation Safety
Regional Operations and General Aviation Division, AS-20
Washington, DC 20594
tel. 1 202 314-6314 / fax -6329