Staff writers

Email Staff writers
Share this article

Charter plane crashed during its second attempt at landing on Lockhart River airstrip

Photos and social media posts made by a passenger while on board the fatal Lockhart River crash will become evidence in the investigation, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau confirmed today.

The social media content, obtained by Tropic Now last night, includes a photo that captured the wild weather outside the plane as it circled above Lockhart River airstrip.

The first photo and comment was posted to Facebook by a passenger from inside the plane at 7.10am, just before take off from Cairns Airport.

The second Facebook post was made at approximately 9.30am while the plane was circling over the Lockhart River airstrip, just moments before the crash. 

Following feedback from Tropic Now readers about the story, we decided to remove the article from our site and apologised for any distress caused. 

It comes as ATSB investigators reveal the light plane was making its second attempt at landing on the Lockhart River airstrip when it crashed on the beach nearby, killing all four passengers and the pilot.

ATSB investigators are today travelling to the accident site of the Cessna 404 Titan aircraft, registration VH-OZO, which crashed near into dunes near Lockhart River at about 9.44am on Wednesday morning.

"After conducting a missed approach at Lockhart River aerodrome, the aircraft impacted a beach while conducting a second approach to land on runway 30," the ATSB said in a statement today.

"The pilot and four passengers were fatally injured. Three ATSB transport safety investigators with experience in aircraft operations, aircraft maintenance and aeronautical engineering will begin the on-site evidence collection phase of the investigation on Friday.

"On-site tasks will include surveying and mapping the wreckage distribution and gathering relevant wreckage, materials and avionics instruments for further analysis at ATSB technical facilities.

"In addition, two other transport safety investigators with aircraft operations and human factors expertise were due to arrive in Cairns on Thursday to begin the process of interviewing involved parties and witnesses, and obtaining operational records and technical documentation.

"The ATSB notes the aircraft was not required to be fitted with a cockpit voice recorder, but other recorded data may be available to investigators including ADS-B data which is broadcast from the aircraft’s Mode S transponder, as well as any mobile devices with flight planning apps installed."

Investigators will also gather relevant weather information from the Bureau of Meteorology.

A preliminary report will be released in about a month after the on-site phase, while the investigation’s final report can be expected to be released in about 18 months’ time.

The ATSB has asked any witnesses who may have seen or heard the aircraft to contact them via the website or by calling 1800 992 986.

But the ATSB noted that if a "critical safety issue" is identified during the course of the investigation, the ATSB will "immediately notify relevant stakeholders so appropriate and timely safety action can be taken."