Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Piper PA-34-200, VH-LCK: Accident occurred July 11, 2012 in Broome, Australia

NTSB Identification: WPR12WA334
 Nonscheduled 14 CFR Non-U.S., Commercial
Accident occurred Wednesday, July 11, 2012 in Broome, Australia

Aircraft: PIPER PA34, registration: VH-LCK
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

On July 11, 2012, at 2020 universal coordinated time, a Piper PA-34-200, VH-LCK, collided with terrain near Broome, Australia. The airplane was a charter flight operating under the pertinent civil regulations of Australia. The pilot was fatally injured and the airplane was substantially damaged.

The investigation is under the jurisdiction of the Government of Australia. This report is for information purposes only and contains only information released by the Government of Australia. Further information pertaining to this accident may be obtained from:

Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB)
P.O. Box 967, Civic Square
Canberra A.C.T. 2608

Tel: +612 6274 6054
Fax: +612 6274 6434

The ATSB has called for information from anyone who heard or saw the accident, and can be reached on 1800 020 616.

Investigators are flying to Broome on Western Australia's Kimberley coast to examine the scene of a fatal plane crash. 

 The twin-engine Piper Seneca freight plane took off in good weather about 8pm (WST) on Wednesday before crashing in sand dunes about 2km south of Cable Beach, killing the 27-year-old male pilot who has not yet been formally identified. No one else was on board.

The Golden Eagle Airlines plane was on a regular freight flight to Port Hedland.

The pilot could not be contacted after take off.

Police used boats and planes to search in the water and on land, discovering the plane at 11.40pm (WST).

Freelance photographer Paul Bell, who was with them when they found the wreckage, said they'd received eyewitness accounts the plane had gone down in the ocean, so that was where the search started.

'There would have been maybe ten or more boats going up and down looking into the water with spotlights,' Mr Bell told ABC Radio.

When the wreckage was discovered in sand dunes, it was immediately apparent no-one could have survived the crash, he said.

It appeared the plane flew off the end of the Broome runway, cleared a highway, but did not clear sand dunes on the other side.

'So obviously problems after take off or right on take off,' he said.

The Broome community has been shocked by the accident, which occurred at the same time as a large concert on Cable Beach.

Golden Eagle Airlines says it has been operating in the region without incident for 22 years. It says it's mourning the loss of a friend, and that condolences have gone out to the pilot's family and friends.

An Air Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) spokesman says a team of three Perth-based investigators will arrive in Broome mid-afternoon on Thursday.

Their first priority will be to secure evidence on site then liaise with local authorities.

The ATSB has called for information from anyone who heard or saw the accident, and can be reached on 1800 020 616.

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