Edwin Kraft and his beloved dog Roxy were bound for a property at either Wallis Island near Forster or Belmore River, near Kempsey. But when he failed to arrive, a land and sea search was launched. The 54-year-old pilot left Cessnock Airport just before 9am on Thursday, heading for Wallis Island near Forster on the New South Wales mid north coast.
“He was flying over Port Stephens the time the radar contact was lost around 9:20am yesterday,” NSW Police chief inspector Dan Skelly said. “The aircraft was just 12 months old and the man was described and a very experienced pilot.” Police were alerted the helicopter had gone missing around 10pm last night and initiated a search.
“Police were deployed in the area to do a search but unfortunately nothing was found last night,” Mr. Skelly said.
After a two day search, the Robinson R66 single-engine turbine helicopter was located on Saturday afternoon in waters near Hawks Nest on the northern shores of Port Stephens by New South Wales Water police. They have retrieved parts of the helicopter, including an on-board camera from the cockpit.
According to the Robinson Helicopter’s website, “the Robinson Cockpit Camera records 4K Ultra HD (3840×2160) video, intercom audio and radio communications, and GPS position to a removable 128GB USB flash drive. The camera securely mounts in the ceiling to minimize vibration and to optimize field of view. The 128GB flash drive supplied with each camera stores approximately 10 hours of video, and when full the earliest video file is automatically overwritten with the latest recording. The Cockpit Camera is standard on new R66 and R44 helicopters and optional on new R22 helicopters.”
It is now in the hands of investigation officers from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, who are hoping it will help them uncover what went wrong in the final moments before the crash.
There is still no sign of Mr. Kraft or his dog, but the search will resume. An investigation to examine recovered components, flight tracking data, CCTV footage, pilot and aircraft maintenance records, as well as weather information is underway. A preliminary report will be released in the next eight weeks, with a final report to be published at the conclusion of the investigation.
The highly skilled attorneys at the BrewerWood law firm have more than 50 years of combined experience representing victims of helicopter and airplane accidents in the USA and globally. Oftentimes, the cause of an aircraft crash is not clear even after government investigators complete their investigation. And, in many instances, investigators are quick to blame a crash on pilot error or weather conditions when, in fact, some other cause resulted in the crash. Time and time again, the attorneys at BrewerWood have uncovered that the true cause of an aviation crash was a faulty part, a faulty system, or faulty design of the aircraft which can mean that a product manufacturer can be held responsible for the crash. BrewerWood fully investigates each and every aviation crash with a team of the top aerospace and aviation experts independent of the findings by government investigators. It is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible after an accident before critical evidence is lost or memories fade. If you or a family member has been a victim of an aircraft accident, please contact the attorneys at BrewerWood for a free consultation.
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