A pilot was killed in a helicopter crash in Sydney’s northwest on Saturday morning.
Carl Hearps was flying over the flood plain at Sackville North, near Windsor, shortly before 11:50 am when his helicopter crashed.
Emergency services found the body of the veteran pilot after reaching the site through difficult terrain and flood-stricken bushland.
Andrew Millett, a Nine News helicopter pilot, saw the plume of smoke while working on a news report about flooding at Wisemans Ferry.
“We turned around and I just then saw a cloud of very thick black smoke coming from the bush not far from where we were — maybe about three miles.”
Millett went to investigate the smoke which “just didn’t look right” but initially thought it could be someone burning garbage.
“When I saw part of the wreckage, I realized it was a helicopter,” he said.
“We were there in minutes. I alerted emergency services and gave the location as it was in a pretty bad terrain environment.
“I got as close as I could and yelled to see if anyone” [was there]hoping someone would respond.”
Millet said he has known the pilot for over 10 years.
“He was such a great guy,” he said.
“He was always one of those guys who would drop everything to help someone in need.
“(He) always just had this friendly disposition about him.”
Hearps led flood and incendiary recovery during his career.
The veteran pilot also survived a crash with a high-speed boat on the Hawkesbury River in 2002.
He walked away with lower back and hip pain.
A crime scene has been identified and will be kept under police guard overnight, with a recovery operation and investigations continuing tomorrow.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau has been notified and will lead the investigation into the circumstances of the accident.