News

'Engine failure' possible cause of plane crash

WHAT WE KNOW:

Emergency services were called to a light plane crash at 10.45am yesterday morning.

There were four people on board the aircraft when it crashed on Middle Island Beach.

Three rescue helicopters were tasked, two from RACQ Capricorn Helicopter Rescue and a RACQ Lifeflight aircraft.

The light plane was owned by 1770 Castaway.

A woman in her 20s died on the scene.

A 13-year-old boy and a 21-year-old woman were airlifted to Rockhampton Hospital in a serious condition.

The woman is now at a Brisbane hospital for treatment on a head injury.

The pilot, Agnes man Les Woodall, is at Royal Brisbane Hospital in a serious but stable condition.

JUST IN: EXCLUSIVE: Plane owner reveals moments before and after fatal crash

 

UPDATE 5.15pm:

PILOT Les 'Woody' Woodall has been transferred to a Brisbane hospital to undergo further treatment after he was involved in yesterday's plane crash.

The Agnes Water man was transferred to the Royal Brisbane this afternoon in a serious but stable condition.

UPDATE 1.15pm:

A TEAM of investigators from different agencies headed out on the 1770 LARC this morning to continue piecing together yesterday's horror light plane crash at Middle Island.

Acting Gladstone Police Inspector Jane Healy, who was in Agnes Water today, said the investigation could be a lengthy process and officers were expected to be at the crash site for most of the day.

She said at this stage officers did not know the cause of the crash but would be investigating "whether or not engine failure" was the cause of the crash.

The 1770 LARC taking crash investigators to Middle Island this morning.
The 1770 LARC taking crash investigators to Middle Island this morning.

The body of the 29-year-old UK woman who died was removed from the crash site late yesterday and transported to Rockhampton.

Act Insp Healy said police would not be involved in salvaging the plane, which was a matter for the insurance company of the owner of 1770 Castaway, Bruce Rhoades.

A spokesman for the ATSB said he was unable to give an update on the crash, adding that investigators "will do their work and prepare a report" which could "take several months".

 

UPDATE 9.40am:

1770 Castaway pilot Les Woodall remains in a serious but stable condition in the Intensive Care Unit at Bundaberg Hospital with head, chest and spinal injuries.

A Bundaberg Hospital spokeswoman said the 64 year old was in a serious but stable condition and Bundaberg Hospital doctors were liaising with a specialist spinal injury team from Brisbane.

>> BREAKING: UK woman, 29 dies, two others critical

A decision on when to move Mr Woodall to Brisbane will be made once the spinal specialists are confident he is stable enough to be transported, which could be later today or tomorrow.

Meanwhile a 21-year-old Irish woman has been taken to a Brisbane hospital for treatment on her head injuries.

A 13-year-old boy remains at the Rockhampton Hospital in a stable condition.

 

UPDATE Wednesday 8.10am:

1770 Castaway, the tourism business which operated the plane involved in yesterday's fatal crash has shared a statement on its website.

"On behalf of everyone at 1770 Castaway, we offer our deepest condolences to the families and all the loved ones of those involved in the Middle Island tragedy," they said.

>> Local pilot injured, investigation underway after fatal plane crash

"In respecting the due process of several investigations and in not wanting to preempt the outcome of those inquiries, we cannot offer any comment regarding the circumstances of the accident and we would ask that the privacy of all concerned be respected at this very difficult time."

Today investigators are returning to the wreckage to start to piece together what could have gone wrong. 

WATCH: Hear from the rescue crewmen who responded to yesterday's crash

UPDATE Tuesday 6pm:

THE Australian Transport Safety Bureau is investigating today's fatal plane crash which involved a Cessna 172M near Agnes Water.

It is reported the aircraft collided with terrain and came to rest inverted, resulting in substantial damage

In a statement the ATSB said, "The ATSB has deployed two investigators-specialising in aircraft engineering and operations-to the accident site." 

"While on site, the investigators will survey the site, examine the wreckage, talk to witnesses and review aircraft and pilot documentation.

"They are expected to be onsite for three days."

One woman died at the scene however three patients were transported to Rockhampton and Bundaberg Hospital.

Experienced 1770 Castaway pilot Les Woodall was taken to Bundaberg Hospital with serious injuries.

HORROR CRASH: Experienced pilot Les Woodall was seriously injured todays plane crash at Middle Island.
HORROR CRASH: Experienced pilot Les Woodall was seriously injured todays plane crash at Middle Island. Facebook

It's understood a 13-year-old boy who was taken to Rockhampton Hospital with suspected fractures family had to watch on from another plane as it plunged into the beach at Middle Island.

Owner of 1770 Castway Bruce Rhoades was believed to be flying the other plane at the time of the crash.

1770 Castaway offers tourists, particularly backpackers, adventure type getaway tours. 

UPDATE 3.40pm:

 

PARAMEDICS worked to save a woman in her 20s for an hour before she died at the scene of a light plane crash at Middle Island today.

Confirming tragic details from the incident, Gladstone Police acting inspector Jane Healy said two males, a 13-year-old and a man in his 60s and another female were also injured.

WRECKAGE: One person has died and three hospitalised after a light plane crashed at Bustard Head, north of Middle Island.Photo Courtesy RACQ LifeFlight RescuePhoto Contributed
WRECKAGE: One person has died and three hospitalised after a light plane crashed at Bustard Head, north of Middle Island.Photo Courtesy RACQ LifeFlight RescuePhoto Contributed Contributed

She said both planes are owned by Discovery Coast tourism business 1770 Castaway.

"Paramedics worked on her (the deceased) for one hour but the woman died at the scene," she told media at Miriam Vale.

"One female may be from the UK.

"We're working to confirm their identities so we can confirm her nationality and contact the next of kin.

"There was also a male passenger who had a family member travelling in the other aircraft."

Insp Healy said it was difficult for crews to access the crash because of the tide.

WRECKAGE: One person has died and three hospitalised after a light plane crashed at Bustard Head, north of Middle Island.Photo Courtesy RACQ LifeFlight Rescue
WRECKAGE: One person has died and three hospitalised after a light plane crashed at Bustard Head, north of Middle Island.Photo Courtesy RACQ LifeFlight Rescue Contributed

"We had business owners who have been really great in assisting us with that," Insp Healy said.

"During low tide vehicles could get in, but then they had to leave quickly."

The Bundaberg RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopter airlifted the pilot, a man in his 60s to the Bundaberg Hospital in a serious condition. 

The occupants were tourists who were reportedly camping on the island.

UPDATE 3.15pm:

THE RACQ Capricorn Helicopter Rescue Service has taken three people from this morning's light plane crash to hospital for further treatment. 

Two patients were taken to hospital in a serious condition.

RACQ Capricorn Helicopter Rescue Service has taken two people involved in this morning's plane crash to the Rockhampton Hospital and one to Bundaberg Hospital.
RACQ Capricorn Helicopter Rescue Service has taken two people involved in this morning's plane crash to the Rockhampton Hospital and one to Bundaberg Hospital.

A 29-year-old woman with suspected head injuries and a possible fractured lower leg was airlifted in a serious condition.

A 13-year-old boy with a possible fractured lower limb was taken to the Rockhampton Hospital in a stable condition.

UPDATE 1.45pm: 

POLICE have reported one person involved in this morning's plane accident has died.

Three people involved in the light plane crash at Middle Island have been taken to hospital. Two were taken to the Rockhampton Hospital and one to the Bundaberg Hospital.

Two of the patients are in a serious condition and the other is stable.

The Observer is awaiting confirmation from police before publishing further details.

Gladstone Police officers arrived at Middle Island ten minutes ago.

Due to tide restrictions they were taken to the island via the Seventeen Seventy Larc.

UPDATE 12.40pm:

THE light plane that crashed on a beach at Middle Island was involved in tourist activities, according to a QAS spokesperson.

LISTEN:

 

Rockhampton communications centre manager Mindy Thomas said there were two planes travelling together near Middle Island when one "went down".

"There was one following the other, and the second plane saw the first go down," Ms Thomas said.

"The second plane safely landed and called Triple zero."

She said both planes were involved in tourist activities in the area.

A light plane has crashed on the beach at Middle Island.
A light plane has crashed on the beach at Middle Island.

"Middle Island is not easily accessible and one access point is dependent on the low tide," she said.

"Most (emergency service) resources are sent via helicopter."

UPDATE: 12.10pm:

ONE rescue aircraft has reached a light plane crash at Middle Island, reported at 10.45am this morning.

Lifelight Rescue and RACQ Helicopter Rescue aircrafts are both responding.

 

A Queensland Fire and Emergency Services spokeswoman said the fire crews and other emergency services had experienced difficulty accessing the crash.

"The latest information we have is that ambulance and fire crews are accessing the crash via plane and boat," she said.

"However we are having difficulties with the tide at the moment."

UPDATE 11.30am:

A RESCUE helicopter is responding to a light plane crash at Middle Island near Agnes Water. 

Emergency services will need to access the crash which happened at Middle Island via boat.

The rescue helicopters, believed to be both Lifeflight and RACQ Helicopter Rescue aircrafts received assistance from VMR to get to Middle Island. 

CQ Plane Spotters have also shared information about the accident on their social media.

"It's believed four people were on board the aircraft. Emergency services responding. Aircraft has a broken wing and is sitting upside-down," they wrote on Twitter

INITIAL 11am:

A LIGHT plane has crashed on the beach at Middle Island near Agnes Water.

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services and Queensland Ambulance Service are responding to the crash, believed to be at Middle Island at Eurimbula National park.

Firies were called at 10.45am however they were not yet on the scene.

It's understood four people were in the plane with one person unconscious.

The Queensland Ambulance Service also had heard reports of four people involved.

According to social media reports from CQ Plane Spotters, a CQ-based Cessna 172 VH-WTQ made a 'pan-pan'  call before being forced to land on the beach near Agnes Water.

Topics:  editors picks emergency services light plane crash plane crash


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