…But Locust Chase Defies Helicopters


Australia’s aviation agency has grounded helicopters for use in locust-control work after a fatal accident last week, The Australian reported. Pilot Ross Mill, 36, and passenger Ben McDonnell, 33, were killed when their helicopter hit power lines while surveying for locusts. A second passenger, Lucinda Mordue, was seriously injured in the crash, which was the third in a month involving helicopters on locust patrol running into power lines. After the first two crashes, pilots had called for better marking of the lines. Locusts are now hatching across the New South Wales region, with reports of swarming and crop damage. All insect-control aerial operations were banned after the crash, but fixed-wing flights resumed work after several days. The use of helicopters is suspended pending a review to determine if extra safety measures are needed.