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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 671
Last updated: 26 April 2019
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Date:02-JAN-1999
Time:14:15 ESuT
Type:Silhouette image of generic P28A model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Piper PA-28-140
Owner/operator:Private
Registration: VH-BAQ
C/n / msn:
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Category:Accident
Location:37 km E of Coolah, NSW -   Australia
Phase: En route
Nature:Private
Departure airport:Walgett, NSW (YWLG)
Destination airport:Merriwa, NSW
Investigating agency: ATSB
Narrative:
On 2 January 1999, the pilot was conducting a visual flight rules (VFR) flight from Walgett to an airstrip near Merriwa. The aircraft had departed from Walgett earlier in the day, but had returned a short time later when it was reported that the weather at the destination was not suitable for VFR flight.

The pilot felt that he was under pressure to complete the flight that day. He continued to monitor the weather by telephoning for weather reports that were available from an automatic Bureau of Meteorology outlet, and by contacting a friend near the destination airfield. The aircraft later departed at about 1415.

A search was subsequently initiated when the aircraft failed to arrive at its destination. The wreckage of the aircraft was located two days later. 37 kn east of Coolah, NSW, on the top of a ridge, 3,880 ft above mean sea level (AMSL), slightly to the left of the direct track between Walgett and Merriwa.

The aircraft was found to have collided with trees during a right turn, at a rate of descent of about 2,500 ft/min. The impact severed the outboard section of the right wing. The aircraft had then collided with other trees before striking the ground. The right fuel tank had ruptured during descent through the trees and an intense post-impact fire had consumed the cabin area and the fuselage section immediately behind the cabin.

Although the accident was survivable, both the pilot and passenger received extensive burns while escaping from the burning wreckage. The pilot initially survived the crash but died from injuries before rescuers arrived 44 hours later, before the aircraft was located by search-and-rescue services personnel during the morning of the second day of the search.

A fixed emergency locator transmitter (ELT), mounted in the aft cabin area of the aircraft, was destroyed by the fire. While it was not possible to determine if the ELT had activated during the accident sequence, no signal from the ELT had been received by the satellite monitoring system. The pilot was known to possess a personal ELT; however, this was not located after the accident.

Sources:

1. http://www.atsb.gov.au/publications/investigation_reports/1999/aair/aair199900044.aspx
2. NZ Herald - Dead Kiwi crash pilot tipped for award
3. http://www.airsafety.com.au/flying/default.htm


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
21-Jan-2008 10:00 ASN archive Added
07-Apr-2009 01:11 XLerate Updated
11-Apr-2014 02:36 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Operator, Location, Phase, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Damage, Narrative]

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