7 October 2023

UPDATED: Man and three children killed in plane crash north of Canberra

| Ian Bushnell and Lizzie Waymouth
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The flight path of the single-engine plane that left Canberra Airport this afternoon for Armidale. Image: flightradar24.com

UPDATED 7 October, 5:15 pm: Brisbane-based Redcliffe Aero Club has issued a statement regarding the plane crash yesterday afternoon near Gundaroo, north of Canberra.

“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 club’s vice-president Sam Keenan said.

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

Mr Keenan said the aircraft was privately owned and was not operated by the club.

Flight information shows the aircraft arrived in Canberra on Wednesday (4 October) after it had travelled from Redcliffe via Armidale.

Flight data appears to have disappeared 16 minutes after it departed on Friday at 2:36 pm.

6 October, 10:05 pm: A man and three children are believed to have died in a plane crash near Gundaroo.

“Initial inquiries indicate the Cirrus SR22 aircraft took off from Canberra Airport about 2:30 pm and was travelling to Armidale with four people – a man and three children – believed to be on board at the time,” NSW Police said.

They are yet to be formally identified. A report will be prepared for the information of the Coroner.

6:55 pm: The Australian Transport Safety Bureau has commenced a transport safety investigation into a fatal accident involving a Cirrus light aircraft at Gundaroo, north of Canberra, on Friday afternoon.

“Transport safety investigators from the ATSB’s Canberra office were expected to arrive at the scene on Friday evening to conduct an initial assessment of the accident site,” the ATSB said.

“Over coming days, investigators with experience in aircraft operations and maintenance will conduct a range of evidence-gathering activities on site including site mapping, wreckage examination, and recovery of aircraft components for further examination at the ATSB’s technical facilities in Canberra.”

As part of the investigation, the ATSB will also seek to interview any witnesses or involved parties and collect recorded information such as flight tracking data, pilot and aircraft maintenance records and weather information.

The ATSB requests that anyone who may have witnessed the accident, or may have video footage of the aircraft in any phase of its flight, make contact via the witness form on the ATSB website at their earliest opportunity.

The ATSB plans to publish a preliminary report within six to eight weeks. This will outline initial evidence collected during the investigation. A final report will then be published when the investigation is concluded, detailing contributing factors and any identified safety issues.

If any critical safety issues are identified at any stage of the investigation, the ATSB will immediately notify relevant parties so appropriate safety action can be taken.

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5 pm: A single-engine plane has crashed near the village of Gundaroo north of Canberra this afternoon.

The plane, en route to Armidale from Canberra, went down at about 2:50 pm and caught alight. RFS have extinguished the blaze and police have established a crime scene.

Firefighters, police and the ambulance service are at the scene, which is close to the Federal Highway and Lake George.

It is not yet known how many people were on board, but police said there were no survivors.

“Emergency services are at the scene of a fatal plane crash,” NSW Police said.

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“Officers from The Hume and Monaro Police Districts responded, along with the Rural Fire Service (RFS) and NSW Ambulance, to a property on Hadlow Drive, Gundaroo, 35 km north of Queanbeyan, just before 3 pm today (Friday 6 September 2023), after reports an aircraft had crashed and caught alight.”

“Officers from Monaro Police District are conducting inquiries into the incident, including confirming how many people were on board at the time.”

A Cirrus SR-22 plane like the one that crashed this afternoon. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) has also been notified and will attend the scene.

According to flight information, the Cirrus SR22 operated by Up n Up Aviation departed Canberra Airport at 2.36pm and went down 16 minutes later.

The Cirrus SR22 is a single-engine, four-or five-seat aircraft built from 2001 by Cirrus Aircraft of Duluth, Minnesota in the US.

Anyone with information about this incident is urged to contact Crime Stoppers at 1800 333 000 or via the website. Information is treated in strict confidence. The public is reminded not to report information via NSW Police social media pages.

More to come.

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So horribly tragic and awfully painful for family & friends.

Capital Retro5:04 pm 08 Oct 23

Most local pilots know about the standing wave on the windward side of the Lake George escarpment when the prevailing wind is from the east but I don’t think visiting pilots are warned about it. The “unseen” problems are usually on the lee side and what happens is explained in the link: https://www.atsb.gov.au/publications/2005/mountain_wave_turbulence

I have experienced this situation over the Barrington Tops and it happens so fast there is no time to to activate a parachute which in the downdrafts likely at the time would it would not have been be effective anyhow.

Tom Worthington8:43 am 08 Oct 23

None of the news reports on the crash have mentioned that the Cirrus SR22 is equipped with a parachute, designed to bring the aircraft safely to the ground in an emergency.

The Daily Telegraph are now referring to the onboard parachute and possible failure to deploy.

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