Man dies despite crew’s efforts
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) has released preliminary findings into the death of a man who fell from a safety harness while being winched into a helicopter.
The 65-year-old man had injured his ankle at Macs Cove in Victoria’s northeast in late August, and an Air Ambulance Victoria helicopter was called to rescue him, as reported in an earlier e-bulletin.
The man was being winched to safety in a rescue/retrieval harness (known as a strop) in a double-lift extraction with a paramedic, when the incident occurred.
Despite the helicopter crew’s efforts to prevent the man from slipping out of the strop, he fell to the ground and died as a result of his injuries, according to the ATSB’s preliminary investigation report.
It also stated the winch and rescue equipment were in working order and the crew qualified to perform the task.
The investigation is ongoing and will assess the rescue strop’s design and potential limitations, potential medical issues associated with winching patients in strops, the operator’s rescue procedures and protocols and certification procedures for helicopter winching rescue equipment.
For more details, visit the preliminary report.
Published on 24 October 2013 in NSCA Safe-T-Bulletin.