Helicopter crash survival in Auckland Islands

When I heard the news that a helicopter had gone missing on Monday night on a flight to the Auckland Islands like many people I presumed the worst. That was reinforced by reports yesterday morning that helicopter ‘wreckage’ had been found.

So it was very good news to hear that the crew had all been found on shore on Auckland Island safe and reasonably well.

13 Comments

  1. Alan Wilkinson

     /  24th April 2019

    A wonderfully professional survival and rescue.

    • Yes, experienced, well trained, well prepared for adverse events.

      I’m sick of the inane repeating of ‘buy a lotto ticket’ (I heard that on RNZ yesterday afternoon). As one person said, it was largely professionalism and not luck that they survived, and of course random draws are not affected by prior events.

      • Ray

         /  24th April 2019

        Good training, good survival gear and a rather large lump of luck allowing them to get out of the machine plus finding somewhere to get out of the sea in the dark on a very nasty place.
        As Sir Richard said finding them was one of the best days of his life.
        And he really knows the dangers of the place and time.

        • Kitty Catkin

           /  24th April 2019

          It was good luck that they came down in that place, good management that they then knew what to do and did it. I only heard about it when they were found.

          Those suits are excellent things; I’d heard of them but not seen them so didn’t realise just how good they are. The inventor should be knighted.

  2. Kimbo

     /  24th April 2019

    Almost as remarkable as those who survived the shipwreck of the General Grant in the Auckland Islands in 1866, and some somehow stayed alive until rescued…18 months later.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Grant_(ship)

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  24th April 2019

      Imagine being one of the airmen who went down and had to live on tinned beetroot for weeks during the war. It was food and drink. The one I heard of didn’t like it much before and couldn’t even look at a beetroot for the rest of his life.

  3. Duker

     /  24th April 2019

    I dont know whether this is drawing a long bow, but crashing into water helps. Didnt a crash into the water on a beach that involved Paul Holmes meant they survived. Yes hitting the water from a few hundred ft up is like concrete, ( but helicopters can autorotate down) but there isnt a fire and the water is sort of ‘flexible’. Drowning is an additional risk

  4. Maggy Wassilieff

     /  24th April 2019

    Thank Goodness the helicopter went down at a site where the men could reach the shore.
    If it had gone down on the western side of the main Island, it would have been a total disaster.
    It’s one of the scariest places I’ve ever been – in the Acheron coasting alongside the sheer vertical cliffs of Auckland Island.

    • Kimbo

       /  24th April 2019

      Yep, that’s the side on which the General Grant was wrecked. The weather was calm but as it was a sailing ship they couldn’t avert course and the ship was then drawn by the tide into a massive cavern. The survivors then had to navigate up a sheer cliff…to then spend 18 months waiting for rescue on one of the most inhospitable islands on earth.

      At one stage they had one match left with which to start a fire, which they succeeded in doing by huddling together to block the wind. And that fire remained their source of warmth for all that time. Almost as incredible as Shakelton’s “Endurance” shipwreck and survival saga.

    • Kimbo

       /  24th April 2019

      * Shackleton

      • Maggy Wassilieff

         /  24th April 2019

        Musgrave’s journey back to Stewart Island in July after the Grafton wrecked & 18 months waiting for rescue is another incredible Auckland Is tale).
        (IIRC, he sung hymns all the way back – 5 days of stormy weather)
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grafton_(ship)

        • Kitty Catkin

           /  24th April 2019

          The only person I know who was stuck on an island wasn’t there very long (weeks. I think) but it was very traumatic and he took a long time to recover, I think.

  5. Duker

     /  24th April 2019

    I just hope that when the accident investigation is done it doesnt find some awful problems. Helicopters have been a bad spot in NZ aviation for some time with standards slipping and recklessness the norm even in the military.