Australia: Helicopter carrying wedding party crashes, killing four


The scene of a helicopter crash in Wollongong south of Syrney, believed to have killed four members of a wedding party, including a child.


Twitter / @briena_barrett

A helicopter believed to be carrying a wedding party has crashed in Wollongong, south of Sydney, in Australia, killing four people.

According to the Fairfax media, the chopper crashed at Bulli Tops, near a function center popular for weddings.

Fairfax quoted an ambulance spokesman as saying there were "multiple" fatalities.

The Illawarra Mercury newspaper cited its own reporter as saying the helicopter — a Robinson R44 four-seater — was a "complete burnt-out wreck" after the crash.

The Mercury cited a spokesperson for Air Services Australia as saying the helicopter was operating outside controlled airspace in an area that operates on a "see-and-avoid" principle.

The pilot was not required to submit a flight plan.

Fairfax wrote that R44s helicopter were commonly used for sightseeing in Australia.

They have also been involved in other fatal crashes here, most recently in February 2012, when Andrew Wight —the writer-producer of the 3D film Sanctum — and fellow filmmaker Mike deGruy died after a crash on take-off.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) recommended as a result of that crash R44 helicopters be fitted with bladder-type fuel tanks as there was a danger of fire from aluminium fuel tanks in the event of accidents.