Emergency services at the scene. Picture: Twitter @BecDavis9
Emergency services at the scene. Picture: Twitter @BecDavis9

Water-bombing chopper crashes fighting fires, killing pilot

A WATER-BOMBING helicopter has crashed after hitting a tree on the NSW South Coast.

Emergency services have confirmed the pilot, the only person on board, died in the crash.

Police, ambulance and fire crews are all on scene Hobbs Lane, Woodstock, just west of Ulladulla.

The helicopter had been contracted by the Rural Fire Service to fight fires and was working on the Kingiman fire when it crashed.

"The NSW Rural Fire Service can confirm a serious incident involving one of its contracted waterbombing helicopters working on a bush fire in the Shoalhaven area," a RFS statement said.

"The incident occurred a short time ago on the Kingiman fire, burning west of Ulladulla."

The helicopter is a 1994 Kawasaki BK117 which has been registered to Sydney Helicopters since May 2015.

A spokesman for the company said they were still working to gather information and could not confirm details of the crash.

"Significant resources" from emergency services including a rescue helicopter have been dispatched to the area, a NSW Police spokesman said.

It's understood nearby naval base HMAS Albatross is also providing assistance.

Residents in Hobbs Lane and nearby Evans Lane had been evacuated in recent days by fire crews working to control a 1600 hectare fire at Kingiman.

Residents in dairy farming region of Woodstock and Milton said waterbombing aircraft had been flying over the area.

All helicopters involved in fighting fires in the area have been immediately grounded. Picture: Rick Walker
All helicopters involved in fighting fires in the area have been immediately grounded. Picture: Rick Walker

At the height of the fire danger on Wednesday, Woodstock residents were told to seek shelter in solid structures as it was too late for them to safely evacuate.

More to come.

There has been a large firefighting effort in the region since Wednesday. Picture: Rick Walker
There has been a large firefighting effort in the region since Wednesday. Picture: Rick Walker


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