The crew of an Australian Army helicopter that sparked a massive bushfire in Namadgi National Park did not pass on crucial details about the fire’s location to authorities for 45 minutes, costing emergency services precious time as they raced to extinguish the fire before it ravaged the ACT’s south.
The fire was started by the helicopter’s landing light in late January, as the Army crew set down for a break in the remote Orroral Valley.
When the blaze threatened to consume the aircraft, the crew took to the skies — only to watch as their helicopter downdraught fanned the flames into what would become a formidable firestorm.
But internal Defence reports on the incident, released to the ABC under Freedom of Information laws, show the helicopter’s pilot did not radio the coordinates in the time it took to return to Fairbairn air base at Canberra Airport.
That lack of information sowed confusion as ACT fire crews were dispatched to different parts of the park in a desperate scramble to locate and extinguish the blaze.
Read more on this story at ABC News Australia