AS FOOTAGE emerged of a helicopter pilot’s shocking crash near Kosciuszko National Park, so did a story of his heroic act during an earlier incident.
A HERO helicopter pilot is recovering in hospital following a serious crash in the bush-land around Kosciuszko National Park yesterday.
Phil O’Driscoll’s waterbombing helicopter crashed near Cabramurra Tuesday afternoon, initially catching fire before the flames were extinguished.
The 45-year-old pilot was the sole occupant of the helicopter and had to be winched from the difficult terrain.
He was taken to Canberra Hospital, where he remains in a stable condition with head and spinal injuries.
Footage has emerged revealing the tattered remains of the chopper.
The UH-1H helicopter — built in 1965 — is operated by O’Driscoll Aviation, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority database confirms. It’s used for heavy lifting and also waterbombing operations.
O’Driscoll was in the same vehicle just last weekend putting out fires across homes in southwest Sydney.
The pilot is a well-known figure who has been hailed as a hero since 2005, when another devastating chopper crash left him with severe burn scars on his face.
The chopper he’d been flying suffered engine failure. After the incident, it was revealed that O’Driscoll had made a split-second decision to fly upwards before the chopper hit the ground, in order to keep others out of harm’s way.
This selfless act came at a severe cost — he lost control of the plane, which flipped and went down a mountainside before exploding into flames, and suffered severe burns to much of his body, including his face, arms and hands.
In 2007, when he spoke to 60 Minutes about the incident, he said one of his passengers would have been dead if he hadn’t reacted the way he did.
“The motor quit. I could have dropped straight down and rolled over backwards, I would have been fine but Emry (one of the passengers) would have definitely been dead,” he said.
It is also understood he also helped tackle the massive bush-fire at Tathra in mid-March which destroyed 100 properties.