An injured Australian hiker fell 100ft to his death from the helicopter that rescued him. (
An injured Australian hiker fell 100ft to his death from the helicopter sent to rescue him (

An Australian man has plummeted 100ft to his death while being winched to safety by a rescue helicopter.

The man had broken his ankle while out bushwalking but his rescue went horribly wrong.

The man, who has not yet been named, was trekking through bush land and cliffs at Macs Cove, near Mansfield, north of Melbourne, when the accident occurred.

A spokesman said the patient was being lifted in an upright position in a 'strop harness' to which a paramedic was also attached.

It's unclear what happened but the injured man fell as he was transferred into the helicopter, while it was hovering at 100ft.

The use of winches has been suspended pending an inquiry into the incident.

The ambulance crew landed to provide medical assistance, but the man had died on impact.

"I understand he was at the door of the helicopter and they were attempting to get him into the helicopter when it happened, "said Greg Sassella, chief executive of Ambulance Victoria.

"The flight crew and the paramedic winched back down to the scene to attempt to resuscitate the patient but unfortunately he was beyond help.

"This is devastating for the crew. They spend their whole lives putting themselves at risk for patients and in this instance something's gone astray.

"What we do know is the crews risk themselves to help the patient, they do everything they can for the patient and in this instance something has happened and the patient is deceased.

"They are very upset."

He said that although extricating someone from wild terrain is always difficult, flying conditions had been good.

Police are preparing a report for the coroner.

Macs Cove, near the shores of Lake Eildon, is a popular area for tourists who enjoy boating and trekking.