Investigation begins after plane goes down off Fraser Island
AN INVESTIGATION is being carried out after a plane crashed into the water off Fraser Island on Wednesday.
A spokesman from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau said the Cessna 206, registration VH-AEE crashed off Happy Valley while undertaking a pilot check and training flight.
"During the initial climb from Happy Valley, the crew detected engine and controllability issues that resulted in a ditching in the water," he said.
"The two pilots on board sustained minor injuries.
"The substantially damaged aircraft was recovered from the water."
As part of the investigation, ATSB investigators will interview the pilots and collect other evidence, including maintenance records.
"Should any safety critical information be discovered at any time during the investigation, the ATSB will immediately notify operators and regulators so appropriate and timely safety action can be taken," he said.
"A final report will be published at the conclusion of the investigation."
Veteran pilot and owner of Air Fraser Gerry Geltch was one of the two men on board.
Yesterday he defended the safety record of the business after a series of freak incidents in recent months.
Mr Geltch told the ABC the plane was the newest in Air Fraser's fleet and only purchased two weeks ago.
"All the paperwork was intact," he said.
"There's been claims that we've been grounded by CASA (the Civil Aviation Safety Authority) or ATSB, but that's not true and we are working as per usual.
"Unfortunately it's just been one of those chain of events that have happened and it's been heavily investigated by the ATSB because our operation is a very unique operation. They've come up with a clean bill of health."
Air Fraser has been the subject of three other ATSB investigations into its operations, including a plane overrunning a runway and a landing gear failure.