Air crash investigators failed to find out three years ago why a plane associated with the company involved in Saturday's deadly Caboolture skydiving accident conducted a forced landing on a gravel road, leaving two skydivers severely injured.
A Cessna 206 being operated by Adrenalin Skydivers Pty Ltd crashed and exploded at Caboolture Airport about 60 kilometres north of Brisbane on Saturday, killing all five on board.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) is investigating the crash which resulted in the deaths of two skydiving instructors, a pilot and two customers about 11.30am.
The wreckage of a Cessna, registered to Adrenalin Skydivers, that made a forced landing on a gravel road in 2010 in a photo from the ATSB report. Photo: Supplied
Killed were customers Rahuia Hohua, 27, and her fiance Joey King, 32, instructors Glenn Norman and Juraj Glesk and the pilot.
No explanation has emerged for the crash although a witness has reported the single-engine plane took off, then veered left before plunging into the ground and exploding.
The Cessna involved was registered to Queensland company Adrenalin Skydivers Pty Ltd. Company records list a Paul Turner as the sole director and shareholder.
Brisbane couple among victims: Joseph King and his fiancee Rahuia Hohua were killed in Saturday's crash. Photo: Facebook
When contacted by Fairfax, Mr Turner said he could not talk because he was driving.
On August 12, 2010, a Cessna VH-TZV registered to the company and carrying six parachutists, took off near Gladstone on the central Queensland coast.
When the single-engine plane reached a height of about 350 metres, the engine cut out, according to an ATSB investigation report.
“Seconds after losing power the engine momentarily surged before again losing power. The pilot noted that the engine's propeller was windmilling, which indicated the engine had not seized and a restart was attempted," the report said.
The pilot tried moving the fuel selector to a different tank, checking the fuel mixture was rich, and cycling the throttle, it noted.
The pilot briefed the passengers about the situation and “broadcast a mayday as he configured the aircraft for an emergency landing”.
“The options available to the pilot for a suitable emergency landing area were reduced because of the aircraft altitude but the pilot was able to turn the aircraft away from a water course in an attempt to land on a gravel road."
In the landing on the road, two of the skydivers sustained serious injuries while the pilot and another suffered minor injuries. The plane was badly damaged.
Despite an investigation, ATSB investigators appeared unable to pinpoint the cause of the crash.
It did find that an inspection of the fuel system found a small amount of orange coloured debris in the fuel manifold but that it would not have caused the engine failure.
But it did not make negative findings about the incident other than noting “pilots should consider the effect of an in-flight engine failure at low altitude has on the time available to manage that failure and find a suitable landing area".
The report said the pilot's decision to turn the aircraft away from a water course and conduct a forced landing on a gravel road “positively influenced the outcome for the occupants of the aircraft”.
A pilot who flew with the company's Caboolture operation Mildred Spinoza told Fairfax that the Cessna involved in the Caboolture crash was different from the one the company had used previously.
Ms Spinoza, who is also a skydiving instructor, said the plane that crashed at Caboolture had flown “beautifully” last time she was in it.
Last year Mr Turner posted an image on his Facebook page showing damage to a plane he described as a “206” and wrote that the damage had been caused either by “hard landing or very fast steep descent”.
Ms Spinoza who is also quoted on Mr Turner's Facebook page commenting on the damage, told Fairfax, the damaged plane in the picture was not the one in the fatal crash.
Air crash investigators on Sunday said they were aware of mechanical issues that affected that damaged Cessna 206, but were unsure if it was the same aircraft that crashed at Caboolture on Saturday.
Asked about the company's Facebook page featuring a photo of the plane at the time, Air Transport Safety Bureau investigator Eric Blankenstein said "We are aware of that, yes, but we are not sure if it is the same plane."