南京夜网

Ranger dead after helicopter crash

THE small town of Dorrigo is in shock after a 41-year-old National Parks and Wildlife Service ranger, Aaron Harber, was killed and a pilot seriously injured when their helicopter crashed.Tributes were flowing for Mr Harber, who had been performing firefighting duties.Police said the helicopter crashed about 11.40am yesterday in dense rainforest on a private property on Dome Road at Dorrigo, about 50km west of Coffs Harbour. Emergency personnel arrived at the scene to find the pilot suffering critical head, chest and back injuries. Mr Harber was already dead. The pilot was taken by ambulance to Dorrigo Hospital.Les Bravery had worked with Mr Harber. ”He was just a great guy to work with,” he said.”He was doing something he enjoyed doing.”Another friend, Peter Carter, said Mr Harber loved cricket and trail biking. ”He enjoyed life,” he said. ”It’s a bloody shock. I was told and I didn’t want to believe it.”He was an easygoing sort of bloke and he would do anything to help you.”The National Parks and Wildlife Service head, Sally Barnes, said the service was devastated by the loss of the well-respected member of his community.”Our ranger was killed while protecting the lives and homes of others,” she said. “His sacrifice cannot be understated.”We are all still in a state of shock and dealing with our grief both as individuals and as an organisation.”Our thoughts and sympathies are with his family, NPWS colleagues, friends and the local Dorrigo community.”The incident was the third in 24 hours involving aircraft being used to fight about 110 fires burning across the state, caused mainly by lightning strikes and fuelled by extremely dry bushland.On Tuesday, a helicopter operating at a firefront about 40km south-east of Tamworth suffered engine malfunction, causing the aircraft to land heavily. The pilot suffered minor facial injuries but the helicopter was extensively damaged.At Bathurst about 7pm on Tuesday, two helicopters clipped each other in heavy smoke and landed safely, one aircraft sustaining minor damage. There were no injuries to personnel.The Premier, Kristina Keneally, expressed her sympathy for Mr Harber who had been with the service for 12 years and who left behind two small children.”This has been a tragic day and a very sad day for the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service,” she said. ”Today is a reminder of the dangers those personnel face every time they go to work.”We face one of the most difficult seasons of bushfire conditions that NSW has seen for some time.”The chief pilot of Bankstown-based company Helitreck, Todd Wilson, has had over 15 years experience firefighting with the Rural Fire Service and knows the dangers involved.”You could say that flying helicopters is inherently dangerous,” he said.”The bush firefighting environment, due to lack of visibility and winds, can increase the pilot’s workload. Also, the concentration of aircraft in the area – sometimes you can have five or six helicopters in the area.”with Jessica Mahar and Angus Thompson
Nanjing Night Net