The 2006 goal of the International Helicopter Safety Team (IHST) was bold: reduce helicopter accidents by 80 percent by 2016. Unfortunately, rotorcraft accident numbers have not dropped as precipitously as those of commercial transport aircraft.
“We are not finding new ways to kill people in helicopters,” an IHST representative told AIN. “We are making the same mistakes over and over again.”
The video of a helicopter striking a ground cable at New Zealand’s Auckland viaduct basin one year ago provides a stark reminder of how even the most simple of situations can quickly turn ugly. The pilot was helping to erect Auckland’s annual Telecom Christmas tree of lights when a ground worker pulled a nearby steel cable taut. It swung back in the opposite direction, catching the helicopter’s rotors just 15 feet above, bringing the machine down almost instantly. Video producer and photographer Murray Job happened to be on site recording the work and captured the accident in detail.
Miraculously, neither the pilot nor anyone on the ground was injured. The ground worker who yanked the cable later told Job that he thought he was helping keep the cable clear of the machine.