Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand
Date 20 Dec 2011


For further information contact:

Senior Communications Adviser, Emma Peel
Tel: 04 560 9646, or 027 272 3545


Preliminary Report - ZK-HIG Accident, Auckland Viaduct Harbour, 23 Nov 2011

Massive out of balance forces tore through a helicopter after it struck a lifting line at Auckland’s Viaduct Basin on 23 November.

The helicopter was being used to raise a 25m tower for Auckland’s Christmas tree.

After raising the tower, the helicopter descended to hover at about 5m so the lifting line could be detached from its hook by the rigging superviser on the ground.

HIG Thumbnail

Illustration of ZK-HIG Accident, Auckland Viaduct Harbour, 23 Nov 2011
See larger image (jpeg)
Download hi-res PDF (1 MB)

When the rigging superviser jumped up to grab the line, it instantly tightened and touched the helicopter’s main rotor blades. The force of the impact caused major structural damage and the aircraft hit the ground. There were no injuries.

The investigation is continuing, and will focus on the pre-flight safety briefings, the pilot’s experience and training, health and safety aspects, potential preventative measures that could have been used, and the identification of human factors that apply to this accident.

See the Preliminary Report

The full report could take up to 12 months, and will be made publicly available via the CAA web site

How the civil aviation system works in New Zealand (PDF)