Authorities search for pilot after helicopter ditches off Port Hedland

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) is leading a search and rescue operation about 35 km. north of Port Hedland in Western Australia this morning.

A helicopter with 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 saw the helicopter ditch into the water and notified harbour control at one, which in turn advised AMSA just before midnight local time.

AMSA also detected a distress beacon from one of the helicopter’s crew members.

Four flares were found in the search area shortly after the crash. Around 1 in the morning, a pilot vessel was able to rescue one of the helicopter’s crew members who was injured but safe in a crew life craft. The man was brought to Port Hedland Hospital.

The second crew member who was piloting the helicopter at the time is still missing. AMSA with the help of WA Police, Volunteer Marine Rescue Port Hedland, Port Hedland Harbour Master and Vessel Traffic Services, and the helicopter pilot company is searching for the missing helicopter pilot.

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