An electricity pole fell from a helicopter transporting it and crashed to the ground near a road in the Highlands, accident investigators have found.
The helicopter was flying at around 200ft in Glencoe with the 700kg wooden pole in a sling underneath the aircraft when it was mistakenly released.
The pole crashed into the hillside below and split into two pieces around 200 metres from a minor public road, according to report by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch.
The 66-year-old pilot was flying the Eurocopter solo as part of electricity line refurbishment when the incident happened at around 2.30pm on March 3.
The report said: “The pole broke into two pieces when it struck a steep hill approximately 200 metres from a minor public road but clear of any built-up areas and third parties.
“There was no damage to the helicopter or lifting equipment.
“The operator considered the most probable cause for the inadvertent release of the load was that the sling, which was carrying the load, was not positioned correctly in the helicopter’s hook which was of the spring-loaded keeper design.
“As a result of this incident, the operator is continuing to phase out the design of this hook for most of its operations and has changed its procedures so that only the operator’s employees are permitted to load the hook when spring-loaded keeper hooks are used.”