2003 December: Helicopter Crash Pyengana (Tas). Pesticide: Alpha-Cypermethrin

My location
Get Directions

On 15 December, 2003, a helicopter operating for the company Tasmanian Helicopters crashed while spraying a Eucalyptus nitens plantation in the Pyengana area, with the insecticide Astound Duo (active constituent, alpha-cypermethrin)… At full capacity, the helicopter could carry 400 litres of spray mix, containing 1kg of the active ingredient, alpha-cypermethrin. At the time of the crash, the helicopter was estimated to have about 60 litres of spray mix remaining on board. Reports from people attending the crash site suggest that about 20 litres of the spray mix spilled onto the ground… Test on soil samples taken from the crash site showed a concentration of alpha-cypermethrin of 218mg/kg at the immediate crash site. At the sampling points 2 metres and 9 metres from the impact site, the alpha-cypermethrin concentration in the soil was found to be 1.0mg/kg and 0.2mg/kg respectively. There was a rapid decline in cypermethrin levels over a short distance from the site locus. No chemical residues were detected in the water sample from the river… Other chemicals were identified in the analysis of soil from the crash site; namely simazine, atrazine, terbacil and a trace of chlorothalonil…The most likely explanation for the low levels of other chemicals found at the crash site is carryover of a small amount of residual spray mix left in the helicopter tank from previous spraying operations…

Source: Review of the Scammell Report. Aerial Spraying in the George River Catchment. August 2004 Tasmania Department of Primary Industries, Water and Development