Pilot missing after helicopter crashes into ocean off WA coast

A pilot is missing after a helicopter carrying two people crashed off Western Australia’s north coast.

The aircraft, operated by Aviator Group, ditched into the ocean around 35 kilometers north of Port Hedland shortly before midnight on Wednesday evening.

According to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), the helicopter was on its way to a ship to pick up a marine pilot when it crashed.

An AMSA spokesperson said the waiting marine pilot saw the helicopter, reported to be an EC-135 model, plummet into the water.

“The marine pilot on board the MV Squireship witnessed the helicopter ditch into the water and immediately notified harbor control, which in turn advised AMSA just before midnight local time,” they said.

Around the same time, AMSA detected a distress beacon from one of the helicopter’s crew members.

Four flares were seen in the search area shortly after the crash before a pilot vessel rescued one of the helicopter’s crew members around 1 am on Thursday.

The crew member was found injured but safe in a crew life raft before being taken to Port Hedland Hospital.

The second crew member, who was piloting the helicopter at the time, remains missing as rescue teams continue to search the area.

Seven aircraft, including AMSA’s Perth Challenger jet, and seven vessels including four tugboats are involved in the

WA Police, Volunteer Marine Rescue Port Hedland, Port Hedland Harbour Master and Vessel Traffic Services, and the helicopter pilot company are assisting with the search.