Thursday, March 9, 2023


Mackay and Whitsunday Life

Pilot Charged With Manslaughter Following Christmas Eve Aviation Death

The Mackay Criminal Investigation Branch and the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) have concluded a 14-month investigation into a fatal light plane crash that occurred on December 24, 2021, at Ball Bay Beach. According to the police, the passenger, an 83-year-old man, lost his life when the plane crashed on the beach. Meanwhile, the pilot, a 66-year-old Halliday Bay man, was rushed to the Mackay Base Hospital, treated, and discharged.

On February 28 2023, detectives and CASA investigators executed a search warrant at a Halliday Bay Road, Halliday Bay residence. During the search, they arrested a Halliday Bay man and charged him with manslaughter, flying an aircraft without a license, carrying out maintenance without authorization, and flying without satisfying safety requirements. Police allege the pilot, Peter McDougall, was unlicensed and had failed to carry out routine maintenance on his aircraft since 2015.

The 83-year-old man, Gerry Miltenburg, died at the scene of the crash which was meant to be a leisure flight to sightsee nearby islands.

The accused appeared before the Mackay Magistrates Court on March 1.

The charges against the Halliday Bay man stem from the December 2021 light plane crash that resulted in the death of the passenger. The investigation, which lasted for over a year, was carried out jointly by the Mackay Criminal Investigation Branch and the Civil Aviation Safety Authority. The crash was tragic and shook the local community. The investigators' efforts were aimed at ensuring that justice is served and that the cause of the accident is fully understood.

RACQ CQ Rescue was tasked to the light plane crash on Ball Bay Beach on December 24, 2021. Photos supplied: RACQ CQ Rescue

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