Brent Acton (inset) was killed when his Robinson R22 Beta II chopper broke apart in the air in 2017.
Brent Acton (inset) was killed when his Robinson R22 Beta II chopper broke apart in the air in 2017.

‘Wrong nut’ at centre of $3.9m claim after chopper crash

A MISSING or incorrect nut cost the life of a helicopter mustering pilot from one of Queensland's most respected farming clans, court documents filed by his grieving widow and young sons claiming $3.9 million against the chopper's operators and maintenance company say.

Brent Acton died after crashing just three minutes into the helicopter's first flight back from months of maintenance northwest of Cloncurry in August 2, 2017.

According to documents in the Brisbane Supreme Court, the mustering chopper was either missing the nut that helped control the rotors, had the wrong nut put in or it was not tightened properly.

Mr Acton, 41, a pilot and instructor with years of experience behind the controls of helicopters doing low level aerial mustering, was flying solo when the rotors tilted too far aft and severed the chopper's tail, sending it crashing out of control into the ground.

 

Helicopter pilot Brent Acton with wife Shona.
Helicopter pilot Brent Acton with wife Shona.

His wife Shona, who lives in Toowoomba, has been left with severe depression, post traumatic stress disorder and anxiety from losing her husband, the claim says, and from visiting the crash scene the next day and seeing part of her husband's body in the wreckage.

Mrs Acton and their two young sons are suing Cloncurry Mustering Company and Cloncurry Air Maintenance for $3.9 million over the loss of their husband and father in the crash.

No response has yet been has been filed to the court claim.

The small western community of Cloncurry had paid tribute to Mr Acton in the days after the crash, with him being described as a hardworking family man.

Mr Acton had more than 10,000 flying hours and had held a commercial helicopter pilot licence continuously since 2010 and has also started a plant hire and cattle breeding business at the time of the fatal crash.

Originally published as 'Wrong nut' at centre of $3.9m claim after chopper crash