Queensland plane crash: five killed
A male pilot, two skydiving instructors and two customers died when the plane crashed shortly after take-off at Caboolture Airport, near Brisbane. Nine News.PT2M5S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-35aop 620 349 March 22, 2014
Five people, including a father-of-two, were killed on Saturday in a fiery plane crash at a Queensland airfield.
A male pilot, two skydiving instructors and two customers died when the Cessna 206 plummeted to the ground shortly after taking off at Caboolture Airport, near Brisbane, about 11.30am.
Moreton police region Superintendent Michael Brady said many people, including the victims' families, saw the light plane crash as it burst into flames.
Wreckage: A skydiving plane that crashed. Photo: Seven News
Juraj Glesk, an Adrenalin Skydive instructor from Caloundra, Queensland, was one of those killed in the crash. The news was confirmed by his brother Tibor Glesk, also an experienced skydiver.
His daughter, Nina, posted a message on Facebook, writing: "Rest in peace, Daddy. You didn't even stand a chance. You will forever be in our hearts. I love you."
The craft belonged to a local skydiving company, Adrenalin Skydivers Bribie, which specialises in spectacular dives from 4200 metres onto a nearby beach at Bribie Island. The trip is completed by the firm and its small team of staff hundreds of times a year.
A skydiver jumps out of a Skydive Bribie plane. Photo: Skydive Bribie Facebook page
Airport safety officer Bryan Carpenter, of Aerodynamic Flight Academy Caboolture, told reporters the plane lurched sharply to its left after failing to reach 60 metres, then dived on to a crossing runway.
Witnesses raced to the scene in the hope of helping those on board but the high-octane fuel meant fire swiftly destroyed the wreckage.
Minutes after the crash, a Caboolture Aero Club spokesman said: ''The aircraft cannot be identified at this time - and I'm standing 50 metres from it.''
Emergency services at the crash site. Photo: Nine News
Superintendent Brady confirmed the crash had been ''unsurvivable''.
Queensland Police Service forensic investigators and the Air Traffic Safety Bureau were combing the remnants of the plane for clues on Saturday. Authorities said the aircraft was a Cessna 206. Fairfax can confirm that Civil Aviation Safety Authority records list Adrenalin Skydivers Pty Ltd as operating a Cessna model U206G, which was nearly 37-years old. It can also be revealed that last year Paul Turner, the sole director of Adrenalin Skydiving Pty Ltd, which operates under several names, posted on his Facebook page that a ''206'' aircraft had been grounded and needed repairs after suffering damage. Uploading a photo of the inside of a plane with references to the damage, he commented: ''It's official, the tail has damage so the plane is grounded, thank god QBE is on the job quick, but at least a month with no 206,'' he wrote on July 17 last year.
'Unsurvivable': Juraj Glesk, an instructor with Adrenalin Skydive Bribie Island, was one of five people killed when a Cessna 206 crashed at Caboolture Airport, his brother Tibor Glesk said. Photo: Facebook
In another comment, he added: ''It's not from wear and tear or corrosion, it's either from a hard landing or a very fast steep descent.''
On Saturday night, a pilot who previously flew for Mr Turner's operation, Mildred Spinoza, said the plane that was damaged last year was different to the one that crashed. She said she had flown the plane that crashed and it had ''flown beautifully''. ''There were never any problems,'' Ms Spinoza said, and described the operation as being very professional.
The small Caboolture airfield where the accident occurred is one hour's drive north of Brisbane.
Paul Turner, the sole director of Adrenalin Skydiving Pty Ltd. Photo: Facebook
Gliders, helicopters and light aircraft are regular fixtures at the site, which has only grass airstrips and is used by flying instructors. Five years ago, popular pilots' forum the Professional Pilots Rumour Network featured a running post criticising the airstrip as the ''crappiest airfield'' in Australia.
The post alleged the airfield was plagued with overgrown grass, bogholes, narrow taxiways and unmarked culverts. It also claimed there was a permanent hazard caused by ibis and kangaroos.
The same contributor highlighted other potential problems, including trees at the end of the south-east runway and powerlines.
Another expressed concern about crosswinds, while a different pilot suggested the airfield was ''cheaper'' for pilots to use than more developed runways in the region.
But the Caboolture Aero Club spokesman said there was no suggestion Saturday's tragedy could be linked to the airfield. He stressed the airfield safety surveyor who assesses the field each year had labelled it ''the best airfield on the east coast''.
Airport safety officer Mr Carpenter said it was the worst crash witnessed at the airport.
''One of the things one would expect would be an engine failure, but the engine was delivering power on touchdown,'' he said.
with Kim Stephens