UPDATED 2:25 pm: A 64-year-old woman and a 75-year-old man from Sydney’s northern suburbs have been identified as the victims of a helicopter crash at Kiandra Flats last night (4 April).
Monaro Police District Commander Superintendent John Klepczarek said rescuers were confronted with a “horrific scene” when they discovered the wreckage.
“It came down heavily. The wreckage is a couple of hundred metres from the roadway [Snowy Mountains Highway] … but the remoteness and isolated location made it very difficult to find,” he said.
“It was very dark and there was no fireball to guide them, so it’s a credit [to the rescuers] that they found them so quickly.”
The Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC) was notified of a helicopter crash at 10 pm, and it was found around 11:55 pm last night (4 April).
Investigators are now piecing together the helicopter’s final movements.
It is believed the aircraft is a Bell 206 LongRanger helicopter, and that it was flying with other helicopters on Sunday afternoon.
Superintendent Klepczarek said little more is known about the helicopter at this stage.
“We know nothing about its flight path … we have no idea if it is privately owned or commercial, or who the owner is.”
Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) Chief Commissioner Angus Mitchell said it had been in the area for some time.
“We need to collect the flight data, but also investigate the weather at the time and examine witness statements,” he said.
“There is no evidence at this stage that a distress call was made to the JRCC.”
The crash is the second within a month to have occurred in the region.
Five people survived when a helicopter carrying National Parks and Wildlife Service personnel crashed near Guthega Power Station.
8:30 am: Two people have died after the second helicopter crash in the Snowy Mountains in as little as three weeks.
At about 11:55 pm last night (Monday, 4 April) emergency services located the wreckage of a helicopter about 200 metres east of the Snowy Mountains Highway at Kiandra Flats.
Two people died at the scene. Their identities are yet to be confirmed.
Officers from the Riverina Police District have established a crime scene which will be examined by specialist police.
An investigation into the circumstances of the crash is underway.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau has been notified.
A report will be prepared for the coroner.
The news comes after a helicopter crash at Guthega in Kosciuszko National Park on Friday, 11 March where all five passengers survived.
That helicopter was carrying National Parks and Wildlife Service staff as well as the commercial pilot.
The ATSB is also investigating that crash.
More to come.