Navy clearance divers and an Army recovery mech successfully retrieved a crashed fire-bombing helicopter from a water reservoir near Eden, NSW, yesterday.
CAPTION: A bird’s eye view of the crashed waterbomber recovery at Ben Boyd Reservoir near Eden, NSW. ADF video screenshot.
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The chopper was forced to ditch into the Ben Boyd Reservoir near the township of Eden last Thursday.
The pilot escaped unhurt and swam to shore.
Contracted to the NSW Rural Fire Service, the Bell UH-1H was supporting the firefighting efforts on the Clyde Mountain fire at the time of the incident.
A retrieval mission was organised and the Royal Australian Navy’s Clearance Diving Team One and an Australian Army heavy-vehicle recovery truck were called in to assist Fire and Rescue NSW’s Hazardous Materials Team (HAZMAT) bring the helicopter to shore.
Using floats secured by the Navy clearance diving team, the helicopter was floated approximately 400 metres to the shoreline.
It was held within containment and absorbent booms to alleviate potential water contamination from fuel or lubricants.
The Bell UH-1H was then winched onto the shore by an Australian Army Heavy Recovery Vehicle operated by 5CSSB and was handed over to the relevant authorities.
Civil Aviation Safety Authority investigators, still looking into the cause of the crash, will no doubt be pleased to have their key piece of evidence on dry land.