During the approach and landing, the pilot sighted powerlines strung across his landing point, and manoeuvred to remain clear of them. While on the ground, the wind veered from a southwest to a southerly direction, so that to take off into wind, the helicopter would track perpendicular to the powerlines. After completing the pre-take-off checks, the pilot turned his attention to a mob of cattle, to ensure the noise of the helicopter would not send them through a fence. Taking off initially parallel to the powerlines, and the pilot then turned to manoeuvre around a tree and climbed to about 20 ft above ground level. The tree momentarily obscured the powerlines and the pilot’s attention was on the cattle.
As the helicopter rounded the tree, at an airspeed of about 50 kt, the skids struck the powerlines. The pilot heard the wires contact the helicopter and it decelerated rapidly. The pilot lowered collective and pulled back on the cyclic, but the helicopter rolled forwards over the wires, descended rapidly, and collided with the ground passenger-side down in a nose down attitude. The wire was hooked on the helicopter’s right skid, with power still running through it. After the blades stopped turning, the pilot exited the helicopter. The pilot was not injured and the helicopter was destroyed.