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NRMA CareFlight - Injury accident

DATE		3/21/01 1230 lcl h 


VENDOR		Own Operator Cert.

ADDRESS		Westmead Hospital
		Sydney, New South Wales

WEATHER		Clear. Not a factor



TEAM		Patient on board. Injuries. 

INJURIES	Pilot, not injured
		Aircrewman/winch operator, not injured
		physician, not injured
		Paramedic, injured

DESCRIPTION	The helicopter was dispatched to rescue a 53 yo 
		female bushwalker who had sustained a broken ankle 
		in a narrow canyon near Katoomba in the Blue 
		Mountains west of Sydney.  The paramedic was 
		winched down approx. 80 feet and detached to allow 
		the helicopter to leave the scene temporarily.  
		The paramedic assessed the patient; administered 
		pain relief; and prepared for an accompanied winch 
		extraction using a rescue sling and hypothermia 
		strap.  A short leg splint was positioned.  As the 
		helicopter came overhead and lowered the winch 
		cable for extraction, a sizeable tree fell into 
		the canyon, striking the paramedic across the back 
		and head-damaging his flight helmet.  Although 
		struck hard, the paramedic did not lose 
		consciousness.  The patient was not affected by 
		the tree falling.  To minimize the possibility of 
		further falling timber, the helicopter was moved 
		clear until the patient was repositioned and the 
		scene re-secured.  The crew then completed the 
		winch recovery from a higher height of 140 feet.  
		During that maneuver the patient and paramedic 
		developed a rapid spin, making it necessary to 
		lift them clear of the canyon and accelerate the 
		helicopter to approximately 20 kts of forward 
		airspeed to control the spin.   They were then 
		winched aboard and treated by the doctor while 
		enroute to Nepean Hospital,where both the original 
		patient and the paramedic were admitted.  Apart 
		from some disorientation, there were no ill 
		effects from the spin on either the paramedic or 

ADDITIONAL INFO	Although other trees were identified as more 
		likely hazards, the fallen tree appeared alive and 
		healthy to the crew prior to the winch deployment. 
		 Development of the hoist load spin appeared to 
		have been exacerbated by the narrowness of the 
		canyon, the height of the winch recovery, and the 
		aerodynamic effects of using the hypothermia 

SOURCE		Richard Nest, Safety Pilot NRMA CAREFlight  via 
		Roseanne Krantz, CONCERN 


The CONCERN network shares verified information to alert medical 
transport programs when an accident / incident has occurred.  
Please share the above information with your program staff. If 
you have further questions, please contact the CONCERN Coordinator, 
Roseann Krantz @ 1-800-75-SHOCK or rjkrantz@aol.com.

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