Date & Time: Oct 1, 2012 at 1421 LT
Monto - Caboolture
Crew on board:
Pax on board:
Captain / Total hours on type:
At about 1107 Eastern Standard Time on 01OCT2012, a de Havilland Aircraft Pty Ltd DH-84 Dragon, registered VH-UXG (UXG), took off from Monto on a private flight to Caboolture, Queensland under the visual flight rules (VFR). On board the aircraft were the pilot/owner and five passengers. The weather conditions on departure were reported to include a light south-easterly wind with a high overcast and good visibility. Sometime after about 1230, the aircraft was seen near Tansey, about 150 km north-west of Caboolture on the direct track from Monto to Caboolture. The aircraft was reported flying in a south-easterly direction at the time, at an estimated height of 3,000 ft and in fine but overcast conditions. At 1315, the pilot contacted Brisbane Radar air traffic control (ATC) and advised that the aircraft’s position was about 37 NM (69 km) north of Caboolture and requested navigation assistance. At 1318, the pilot advised ATC that the aircraft was in ‘full cloud’. For most of the remainder of the flight, the pilot and ATC exchanged communications, at times relayed through a commercial flight and a rescue flight in the area due to the limited ATC radio coverage in the area at low altitude. At about 1320, a friend of one of the aircraft’s passengers received a telephone call from the passenger to say that she was in an aircraft and that they were ‘lost in a cloud’ and kept losing altitude. Witnesses in the Borumba Dam, Imbil and Kandanga areas 70 to 80 km north-north-west of Caboolture later reported that they heard and briefly saw the aircraft flying in and out of low cloud between about 1315 and 1415. At 1348, the pilot advised ATC that the aircraft had about an hour’s endurance remaining. The pilot’s last recorded transmission was at 1404. A search for the aircraft was coordinated by Australian Search and Rescue (AusSAR). The aircraft wreckage was located on 3 October 2012, about 87 km north-west of Caboolture on the northern side of a steep, densely wooded ridge about 500 m above mean sea level (Figure 1). The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) later determined that the aircraft probably impacted terrain at about 1421 on 01OCT2012. Preliminary analysis indicated that the aircraft collided with trees and terrain at a moderate to high speed, with a left angle of bank. The aircraft’s direction of travel at impact was toward the south-south-west.