The crash site
The five-seater Cirrus went down in a paddock in Gundaroo, north of Queanbeyan. Image by Lukas Coch/AAP PHOTOS
  • disaster and accident

‘Tragic circumstances’: plane crash probe begins

Kathryn Magann October 7, 2023

An investigation into a deadly light plane crash near Canberra Airport will be complicated by the extent of damage to the aircraft, authorities say.

A man and three children were killed on Friday afternoon when the plane crashed and caught alight in a paddock at Gundaroo, north of Queanbeyan, on Friday afternoon.

Firefighters extinguished the blaze but the five-seater Cirrus was destroyed.

Investigators at the site
Investigators are probing the site of the plane crash as they try to piece together what happened.

The pilot was highly experienced and the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) said on Saturday that teams are already at the site.

“This will be a difficult undertaking given how burnt the wreckage is. But over the coming days, I am fully confident that the investigators will gather as much information and evidence as they can from the accident site,” the ATSB’s Colin McNamara said.

ATSB crews will monitor for spilled chemicals, burnt carbon fibre and possible explosive materials.

The Redcliffe Aero Club released a statement following the crash.

“The Redcliffe Aero Club expresses its deepest condolences to the family of the pilot and passengers who were tragically killed on Friday the 6th October 2023,” the organisation said.

“The pilot was active in the social side of the Club with many hours of flying experience.”

Flight information shows the single-engine aircraft arrived in Canberra on Wednesday after travelling via Armidale from Redcliffe, north of Brisbane.

It’s understood the plane vanished from radar screens 16 minutes after taking off on Friday.

The victims have not yet been formally identified, but NSW police said a man and three children were believed to be onboard the plane when it went down.

An investigator at the crash site
Witnesses to the crash are being urged to contact the Australian Transport Safety Bureau.

Mr McNamara praised the first responders to the scene.

“These are indeed tragic circumstances exacerbated by the news that children have been involved,” he said.

He also asked for any other witnesses to the crash to contact the ATSB.

“Yesterday we were contacted by a number of witnesses which we’re very appreciative about. It does prompt me to say, if anyone has relevant information pertaining to this accident, please go to our website.”

Mr McNamara said in coming days engineers will study the plane’s maintenance log as well as the flight history of the pilot.