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Fuel in tanks of crashed plane: report

Date
Des Porter with the restored bi-plane which was used in the 1930s by the Royal Flying Doctor Service.  <B><A href= http://www.caboolturenews.com.au/story/2012/10/01/police-search-missing-plane/ > Photo: Nicola Brander, Caboolture News  </a></b>

Des Porter with the restored bi-plane which was used in the 1930s by the Royal Flying Doctor Service. Photo: Nicola Brander, Caboolture News

A vintage plane still had fuel in its tanks after it crashed in Queensland's Sunshine Coast hinterland last month, killing six people, a preliminary report into the tragedy has found.

The restored 1934 De Havilland Dragon crashed on October 1, killing pilot Des Porter, 68, his wife Kath, 61, Les D'evlin, 75, his wife Janice, 61, and John and Carol Dawson, both 63.

The preliminary report from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau found the aircraft struck trees and the ground at a moderate to high speed as it was banking to the left.

Rescue crews arrive at the wreckage of the vintage plane.

Rescue crews arrive at the wreckage of the vintage plane. Photo: Channel Nine

Both fuel tanks ruptured and while there was evidence fuel had drained from the left-hand tank, about seven litres of Avgas remained in the right fuel tank.

"The aircraft was destroyed by impact forces. There was no fire," the report read.

"The accident was not survivable and the six occupants were fatally injured."

After taking off from Monto just after 11am on a flight to Caboolture, the pilot called Brisbane Air Traffic Control at 1.15pm asking for navigation assistance.

Three minutes later he advised the plane was in full cloud.

"For most of the remainder of the flight, the pilot and ATC exchanged communications, at times relayed through a commercial flight and a rescue flight in the area due to the limited ATC radio coverage in the area at low altitude," the report said.

At about 1.20pm a friend of one of the passengers received a phone call saying the plane was 'lost in a cloud' and losing altitude.

The pilot advised ATC at 1.48pm the aircraft had about an hour's fuel left.

His last transmission was received 16 minutes later.

The wreckage was found on October 3 about 87km north west of Caboolture on the northern side of a steep, densely wooded ridge.

The final report into the cause of the crash will be completed by next October.

AAP

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