Search for missing pilot after helicopter ditches off Port Hedland in WA

Thursday 15 March 2018
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) is coordinating a search and rescue operation about 35 kilometres north of Port Hedland in Western Australia this morning.
Media Release

A helicopter, which had two people on board, was on its way to the bulk carrier MV Squireship to collect a marine pilot and return them to the harbour when it ditched.

The marine pilot on board the MV Squireship witnessed the helicopter ditch into the water and immediately notified harbour control, which in turn advised AMSA just before midnight local time.

Around the same time, AMSA detected a distress beacon from one of the helicopter’s crew members.

Four flares were also seen in the search area shortly after the crash. Around 1 am AWST a pilot vessel picked up one of the helicopter’s crew members who was injured but safe in a crew life raft. He was taken to Port Hedland Hospital.

The second crew member who was piloting the helicopter at the time is still missing.

AMSA is searching for the missing helicopter pilot this morning. Seven aircraft, including AMSA’s Perth Challenger jet, and seven vessels including four tug boats are involved in the search. WA Police, Volunteer Marine Rescue Port Hedland, Port Hedland Harbour Master and Vessel Traffic Services, and the helicopter pilot company are assisting.