Helicopter pilot Lachie Onslow has escaped without serious injury after his helicopter crashed into a dam while fighting fires on the Far South Coast.
The owner of Fleet Helicopters in Armidale had contracted his well-known pink helicopter Lucy to help the NSW Rural Fire Service battle the Clyde Mountain fire.
The 47-year-old was flying the helicopter when it lost power while refilling with water and ditched into a dam in the Ben Boyd National Park in the Bega Valley on Thursday afternoon.
The aircraft remains submerged, however Mr Onslow was able to free himself from the helicopter and make it safely onshore.
Ambulance NSW responded to the incident, but Mr Onslow managed to escape without serious injury.
The pilot was treated by paramedics for shoulder, back and ankle injuries and taken to the South East Regional Hospital in a stable condition.
Mr Onslow will return to Armidale in the next couple of days.
On Friday afternoon, a spokesperson from Bega Valley Shire Council said the Australian Defence Force was organising the retrieval of the helicopter and were currently assessing the site.
"Booms are in place to limit the potential spread of contamination," they said.
"Once the helicopter is retrieved council can do assessments of the water in the dam."
They said the Kiah borefield was operating and was supplying water to Eden.
An RFS New England Aviation Brigade spokesperson said the event was a sobering reminder of the dangers faced by brave pilots on a daily basis.
"It is with both sadness and relief that I can confirm that the helicopter that crashed this afternoon was Lucy VH-ONZ belonging to Fleet Helicopters based here in Armidale," the spokesperson said.
Police officers are investigating the incident.
HAZMAT crews confirmed no fuel or oil had leaked from the helicopter about 7pm on Thursday.
Recovery efforts to pull the helicopter from the dam will be coordinated.
Mr Onslow is known as an expert pilot, having competed in the Reno Championship Air Races.
More people have been to space than have competed in the race, that covers the distance of two football fields a second, at 800 kilometres an hour.
There is nowhere else in the world pilots can fly that fast under 10,000 feet and it is one of the fastest and most dangerous motorsports in the world.