Five people are dead after a light plane carrying a group of
skydivers crashed and burst into flame at an airfield north
of Brisbane as family members of those aboard watched in
Witnesses said the Cessna 206 disintegrated in a fireball
after coming down shortly after taking off from the
Caboolture Airfield about 11.30am yesterday.
Police said there were five people on board and there were no
The names of the deceased have not yet been released, nor has
that of the skydiving company involved.
A police spokeswoman said it was believed some of the
families of those killed were at the airfield to watch the
It's understood two skydiving companies operate from
Caboolture Airfield, which has been shut down by police.
Two investigators from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau
(ATSB) were travelling to Caboolture from Brisbane, and three
more were due to arrive from Canberra later on Saturday.
An ATSB spokesman said they would examine the wreckage,
interview witnesses and study the weather to find out what
Airport safety officer Bryan Carpenter said he saw the crash,
adding that the plane which was loaded with high-octane fuel,
was destroyed by flames within a minute of impact.
He said the plane veered to the left after take-off, before
plunging to the ground and bursting into flames.
It took firefighters 10 minutes to douse the inferno, with
another witness saying the fire was out of control when he
arrived on the scene.
"It was hard getting close. You can't put that type of fire
out with hand-held extinguishers," Mark Thompson from the
Caboolture Warplane Museum told AAP.
Both Mr Carpenter and Mr Thompson said it was the worst crash
they'd seen at the airport.
"They've had a couple of incidents here but nothing like
this," according to Mr Thompson, who ran about 200 metres to
the scene after hearing a loud thud and seeing a plume of
Mr Carpenter, who has worked at Caboolture for 14 years, said
the crash could have been caused by any number of things.
"One of the things one would expect would be an engine
failure but the engine was delivering power on touch down,"
he told Fairfax Radio Network.
"So it's something mechanical I would say ... or the pilot
could have blacked out - any number of scenarios; it's a bit
like MH370 at the moment, we just don't know."