5pm UPDATE: Erickson Sikorsky S-64 ‘Sky Crane’ helicopters have been allowed back into service following inspection by the ATSB.
Following an accident around 7pm yesterday, when an Erickson Sikorsky S-64 Skycrane helicopter ditched into a dam in Jericho the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) today grounded all Sikorsky Skycrane helicopters Australia-wide.
The ATSB is investigating the accident and, according to ABC Radio Melbourne (774 AM), will not be allowed to fly again until the supplier, Kestrel Aviation, can ensure their safety.
It is not clear at this stage what caused the helicopter to land in the dam, however, there are unconfirmed reports the helicopter may have flipped while scooping out water.
Authorities said the aircrane had been involved in “fire suppression activities” for several days and was one of 10 aircraft working on the fire.
The two pilots and an engineer managed to swim to safety at the edge of the dam and were treated by paramedics at the scene.
Kestrel Aviation and the ATSB have been contacted for comment.