Thursday, November 2, 2023
Mackay and Whitsunday Life
RACQ CQ Rescue assisted Queensland Police with a search for a missing light aircraft near Finch Hatton last weekend on Saturday, 28th October.
Mackay Police reported that just before 9am, police were contacted by a local community member alerting officers to the crash.
The helicopter crew were tasked about 10.15am after a small aircraft with two people on board, believed to be travelling from Townsville, failed to arrive at its destination at Palmyra. The aircraft was last seen on flight radar about 70km west of Mackay.
The chopper crew were provided with these radar coordinates by the tasking agency and flew directly to the mountain location about 5km north of Netherdale. The crew on board, including pilot, aircrewman, Critical Care Paramedic and doctor, immediately spotted small plumes of smoke rising from a small burnt out clearing on the northern side of the mountain.
As the helicopter flew overhead at about 200 feet, the crew spotted wreckage and a smouldering site of about 100 metres below.
The helicopter made multiple passes over the mountainous terrain before being requested to land on a property nearby to meet with Queensland Police.
A police officer was then flown over the crash site before the helicopter was stood down and returned to base about 1pm.
The crash location was described as inaccessible and in very difficult, mountainous terrain with a thick forest canopy overhead.
A 73-year-old man and a 75-year-old woman are believed to have been on board the aircraft and are not expected to have survived the crash. The couple reported to be from Walkerston have two sons and grandchildren.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) has been notified of the crash and will conduct a transport safety investigation.
The Forensic Crash Unit will investigate the crash on behalf of the State Coroner.
Retrieval of the wreckage and investigations are ongoing.
Vision from a RACQ CQ Rescue helicopter as it located the smouldering site of a small aircraft which had crashed into a mountain near Netherdale. Image taken from video footage provided by RACQ CQ Rescue