Chopper crash in Wollongong Sydney kills four

Last updated 15:13 21/03/2013
Fairfax Australia

A helicopter crash at Bulli Tops in north Wollongong near Sydney has left four people dead. Kate McIlwain reports from the scene.

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Four people have been killed in a helicopter crash south of Sydney.

Police, paramedics and firefighters are heading to a function centre in Wollongong's northern suburbs where the Robinson R44 helicopter crashed just after midday (2pm NZT).

The centre, Panorama House, is set on a cliff overlooking the Illawarra, and is popular among wedding parties.

The chopper that crashed is believed to have been carrying a wedding party. One of those killed is believed to be a child.

The helicopter burst into flames when it crashed into a grassed clearing outside Panorama House, police said.

There were no survivors.

A crime scene has been set up at Panorama House and police have launched an investigation into the incident.

Local man Norm Upton was driving home from Sydney when he saw the helicopter engulfed in flames.

He told the Illawarra Mercury he was travelling south along Mount Ousley and saw the helicopter on its side.

''I was about 200 yards away and I saw people running around,'' he said.

''It wasn't exactly what I wanted to see on my way back.''

An Air Services Australia spokesman said the helicopter was operating in uncontrolled air space.

That meant the organisation was not providing any air traffic services in the area, and pilots worked on the principle of "see and avoid" and talking among themselves.

The pilot was not required to submit a flight plan, and therefore it was unclear where the helicopter had taken off from.

Police said a report would be prepared for the coroner.


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- Sydney Morning Herald

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