The wreckage of the Aerohire Pty Ltd Cessna 404 Titan that crashed while attempting to land at the Lockhart River Airport, the pilot and four passengers were killed. Picture: Ten News
The wreckage of the Aerohire Pty Ltd Cessna 404 Titan that crashed while attempting to land at the Lockhart River Airport, the pilot and four passengers were killed. Picture: Ten News

‘Catastrophic scene’: Plane crash site probe could take days

INVESTIGATORS trawling the "catastrophic" wreckage of a plane which crashed on a Cape York sand dune will probably need to spend days at the remote site.

First images of the doomed Cessna 404 Titan show the wreckage strewn across the dune about 5km south of the Lockhart River boat ramp, with ocean on one side and scrub and swamplands on the other.

Cape York police Insp Mark Henderson is leading the investigation at Lockhart and said a boat was being used to shuttle in crews.

Cape York police Insp Mark Henderson.
Cape York police Insp Mark Henderson.

He said the probe would step up today with the arrival of Australian Transport Safety Bureau staff.

"I expect that the recovery will take several days," he said.

"It is a catastrophic scene and very difficult.

"We are challenged with the tides which, on high tide, are up against the dunes which are preventing access and it is some 5km down from the Lockhart River boat ramp which makes access extremely difficult.

"There is no other access to it via the ground other than our light boat during the high tide times. We will work throughout the day and into the weekend to try to bring closure to this for the family.

The Lockhart River beach where a light plane crashed on Wednesday, killed five Cairns men.
The Lockhart River beach where a light plane crashed on Wednesday, killed five Cairns men.

"We will do the best we can to bring about that as fast as we can."

Insp Henderson confirmed that the weather at the time of the crash would have thrown up some "challenging conditions".

"At the time of the incident it is being reported that the skies were very overcast with considerable low clouds, there'd been drizzling rain at the time," he said.

An ATSB spokesman said preliminary findings were expected to be released in about a month with the final report 18 months away.

Picture of the Aerohire Pty Ltd Cessna 404 Titan that crashed while attempting to land at the Lockhart River Airport, the pilot and four passengers were killed. Picture Supplied
Picture of the Aerohire Pty Ltd Cessna 404 Titan that crashed while attempting to land at the Lockhart River Airport, the pilot and four passengers were killed. Picture Supplied

He said the aircraft was not fitted with a cockpit voice recorder, but other recorded data would be used during the investigation.

"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," he said.

"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."



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