Disorientation blamed for chopper crash that killed three

AUSTRALIA'S air safety investigators believe disorientation was the major cause of an ABC helicopter crash at Lake Eyre that took three lives including reporter Paul Lockyer, cinematographer John Bean and pilot Gary Ticehurst in 2011.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau found the pilot likely chose the wrong destination on the global positioning system, followed by the pilot becoming disorientated by the dark night conditions.

The helicopter took off on August 18, 2011 and after reaching 1500 feet, began a right turn then began falling.

Within just 38 seconds of starting the fall, the helicopter hit the ground, killing the pilot and two passengers immediately.

The trio were on location filming a documentary on Lake Eyre at the time.

The ATSB recommend that pilots in the cockpit on similarly dark, moonless nights, be guided by their instruments and not by external landmarks.

Mr Bean's wife and ABC Landline journalist Pip Courtney has released a statement thanking the ATSB for its efforts in investigating the cause of the crash.

Topics:  abc air safety helicopters

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