Friday, 25 January 2013

Eyewitness recounts chopper crash

A woman who witnessed today's helicopter crash outside Newcastle says the Robinson 44 came down after hitting a power line.

Wonda Wilson has been speaking to Newswatch following the incident in which three men were hurt.

Moments after the crash, which took place about 100metres from her game lodge, she raced to the scene.

"I managed to get the passengers out. Luckily there was no fire. I did smell the fuel, so my first priority was to get them out as soon as possible.

"I got the two guys out and they were in a lot of pain. They had backache and one hurt his shoulder. I couldn't get the pilot out as he was unconscious for a while.

"I called some of my farm workers and they managed to help me and we pulled the pilot out from the front window," she said.

Wilson says the chopper had just taken off, when she saw it clip a power line.

Wilson's husband, Allen, is a commercial helicopter pilot and she says that power cables are very often a hazard.

"For pilots it is extremely difficult to see the power lines, it's just very dangerous. They are so well camouflaged if you are up in the air.

"That power line actually dragged behind the helicopter and that's what caused him to lose control."

The pilot, his brother and a friend were taken to hospital with minor injuries.

Wilson has praised emergency teams for their rapid response.

- East Coast Radio News

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