Pilot dead in helicopter crash at Ulladulla fire

The crash scene at Woodstock, near Ulladulla, on Friday which killed pilot Allan Tull (inset). Screen grab: ABC TV
The crash scene at Woodstock, near Ulladulla, on Friday which killed pilot Allan Tull (inset). Screen grab: ABC TV

Police investigators and aviation specialists will investigate the fatal helicopter crash near Ulladulla on Friday.

Pilot Allan Tull died at the scene.

Sydney Helicopters, the chopper contractor, issued a statement on Friday evening.

“Tully had a wealth of aerial firefighting experience and his aviation knowledge and skills were of the highest standard, he was regarded as one of the most experienced firebombing pilots in the industry.

“The aviation firefighting industry is very close and this tragic loss will be felt by all involved along with the broader firefighting community and those he worked alongside in other parts of the world.”

Allan Tull was killed in the helicopter crash.

Allan Tull was killed in the helicopter crash.

NSW Police said a crime scene has been established and will be forensically examined.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau will also attend and begin an investigation.

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority’s Peter Gibson said the helicopter had been "involved in firefighting operations and crashed into terrain".

"The pilot was the only person on board," he said.

The chopper contractor involved is understood to be Sydney Helicopters. The business has been operating for more than three decades and describes itself as the city's "premier helicopter service provider".

It is the longest running commercial helicopter operator in Sydney, with aircraft housed at Parramatta Heliport.

Update: 4.15pm

A crime scene has been established around the scene of a fatal helicopter crash on the state’s south coast.

About 2.10pm (Friday, August 17), emergency services were called to a property off Kingiman Road, Woodstock, after reports of a helicopter crash.

Police arrived and located the aircraft wreckage. The male pilot and sole occupant was located deceased.

The crime scene will be forensically examined.

The aircraft is understood to be contracted to the NSW Rural Fire Service (NSW RFS), who are conducting firefighting operations in the area.

Police have notified the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB), who will attend and conduct an investigation.

NSW Police will prepare a report for the Coroner.

MPs offers condolences

Premier Gladys Berejiklian has led the tributes after a helicopter pilot lost his life fighting fires on the NSW South Coast on Friday.

“I am deeply saddened by the death of a helicopter pilot while fighting fires near Ulladulla today,” the NSW Premier tweeted.

“My thoughts and prayers are with the pilot’s family and our brave emergency service personnel.”

South Coast MP Shelley Hancock extended her sympathy and the thoughts and prayers to the family and colleagues of a helicopter pilot.

“This is truly a sad day. The pilot put his life on the line to protect and keep our community safe and he has paid the ultimate price.

“It is a reminder to the entire community of the danger of bushfires, how quickly a situation can turn and the risks so many volunteers and professional personnel face as they put themselves in harm’s way to protect others.

“Again I extend my deepest condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of the pilot,” Mrs Hancock said.

Gilmore MP Ann Sudmalis echoed those sentiments.

“My thoughts are with the family and friends of the helicopter pilot tragically killed today while assisting in the bushfire fighting efforts at the Kingiman Road fire.”

She went on to pay tribute to the services who have fought the fires on the South Coast this week.

“I would like to thank the hundreds of emergency service men and women from SES, RFS, Ambulance Paramedics, Police and Fire Brigade Emergency Rescue teams who have given their time and energy to fight the bushfires throughout the electorate and across NSW this week.”

Update: 3.48pm

Update: 3.40pm

Emergency services at the command post at the Milton RFS shed. Photo: John Hanscombe

Emergency services at the command post at the Milton RFS shed. Photo: John Hanscombe

Police say "significant resources" from emergency services have been dispatched to Plot Road at Kingiman, west of Ulladulla where tragically a waterbombing pilot died in a helicopter crash earlier this afternoon.

A call made to NSW Ambulance paramedics at 2.15pm indicated the chopper had collided with a tree.  It has been confirmed over NSW Ambulance radio the waterbombing pilot was killed.

All other firefighting aircraft are still grounded. The Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter has arrived at the helipad at Milton.

It’s understood nearby naval base HMAS Albatross is also providing assistance.

A command post has been established near the crash site.

Update: 3.18pm

Helicopters at the Kingiman fire have been grounded. Photo: John Hanscombe

Helicopters at the Kingiman fire have been grounded. Photo: John Hanscombe

All waterbombing aircraft at the Kingiman fire west of Ulladulla have been grounded after an earlier helicopter crash this afternoon in which the pilot was killed. Photo: John Hanscombe

Update: 3.10pm

Update: 3.01pm

NSW RFS have confirmed a contracted waterbombing aircraft at  Kingiman fire, west of Ulladulla has crashed.

Update: 2.50pm

It has been confirmed over NSW Ambulance radio the waterbombing pilot, whose helicopter has crashed at Plot Road at Kingiman, west of Ulladulla has died.

The Wetspac Rescue Helicopter has been called to the scene.

All other firefighting aircraft have been grounded.

On the fireground, it is business as usual with firecrews continue to blackout fires.

Update 2.40pm: New reports are the helicopter has crashed at Plot Road at Kingiman.

There are unconfirmed reports the pilot has been killed.

A command post has been established near the crash site..

Earlier:

NSW Ambulance paramedics are responding to reports of a helicopter crash at Woodstock near Ulladulla.

Crews are responding to the incident in Hobbs Lane at Woodstock in the Shoalhaven area.

Authorities received the triple 000 call at about 2:15pm.

  • More to come
This story Chopper pilot killed waterbombing Ulladulla fire first appeared on Bay Post-Moruya Examiner.

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