Helicopter crash: Firefighting aircraft owned by Armidale Fleet Helicopters pulled from dam on south coast

RETRIEVED: A joint effort has seen Armidale Fleet Helicopters' unit Lucy pulled from a dam where it spent the weekend submerged. Photo: BVSC
RETRIEVED: A joint effort has seen Armidale Fleet Helicopters' unit Lucy pulled from a dam where it spent the weekend submerged. Photo: BVSC

Lucy the pink helicopter has been dragged from the drink after Armidale pilot Lachie Onslow dipped into a dam in the state's south coast.

The helicopter spent the weekend in Eden Dam after it crashed while contracted to the NSW Rural Fire Service on Thursday afternoon.

The aircraft was retrieved in a joint salvage operation by the Navy, Army and HAZMAT personnel.

Navy divers were used to float the chopper from the western end of the dam where it lay submerged upside down.

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The dam provides drinking water to Bega Valley Shire residents and the council will conduct further testing in the coming days to ensure no fuel or oil had leaked.

At this stage it does not appear likely that the water source has been compromised, but generators which power the Ben Boyd pumping station were turned off immediately after the crash as a precaution.

Eden residents instead have used water from the Kiah Bore Field since the accident and have been issued a warning to boil the water before consuming it.

Mr Onslow received minor injuries to his back, shoulder and ankle in the accidents and was taken to hospital in a stable condition.

The helicopter dipped into the dam when it lost power while refilling it's waterbombing bucket to help fight the Clyde Mountain fire.

Mr Onslow was able to free himself from the wreckage and swim to shore.

Booms were put in place around the sunken helicopter to prevent the possible spread of contaminants into the drinking water source.