Aviation AO-2006-007

KH369 ZK-HDJ, collision with terrain, Mt Ruapehu, 11 Dec 2006
Status: Closed
Legacy Inquiry Number: 
06-007
Occurrence Date: 
11 December 2006
Report Publication Date: 
15 January 2009
Jurisdiction: NZ
On 11 December 2006, a Kawasaki-Hughes 369HS helicopter, registered ZK-HDJ, took off with the pilot and 4 passengers on board from near Crater Lake on Mount Ruapehu, at an elevation of about 8300 feet. The pilot could not climb the helicopter above the surrounding terrain, so he descended towards the lake to accelerate the helicopter towards its best-angle-of-climb speed. The helicopter hit the lake surface and came to rest on the shore of the lake. All of the occupants were injured and the helicopter was destroyed.

Safety issues identified included:

- the training and supervision of helicopter pilots working in mountainous terrain

- the removal of seats and the disregard for the wearing of seat belts in helicopters

- the carriage of life jackets on flights where, in the event of a forced landing, a water landing was likely or preferable

- the effectiveness of the Civil Aviation Authority’s current audit and surveillance programmes for determining the true level of industry compliance.
Related Safety Recommendation(s):
Location: 
Mt Ruapehu (-39.2792,175.5664) [may be approximate]