Aviation safety investigations & reports

Cessna 150 H, VH-KQX, Cape Banks - Carpenter Rocks area, SA, 26 June 1972

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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Following a boating accident, the aircraft was engaged to assist in the search for a missing fisherman. The search was to be conducted off-shore between the Cape Banks - Carpenter Rocks area and the southern end of Lake Bonney. The cloud base was about 1000 feet, the wind from the north-north-west at 18 knots and visibility was 20 miles. Both occupants of the aircraft wore life jackets, but these were of a padded, noninflatable type not approved for use in aircraft. The aircraft was fitted with lap type safety belts. Prior to departure the fuel tanks of the aircraft were filled to capacity. Early in the flight the pilot pointed out to the passenger who held a private pilot licence, that carburettor icing was present and some carburettor heat remained applied thereafter. The search was flown at a height of about 500 feet and at 1100 hours the pilot made a routine radio report that operations were normal and that he would call again at 1130 hours. There was no further communication with the aircraft. A member of a land party assisting the search saw the aircraft make a shallow descent and strike the water in a right wing down, nose down attitude near Carpenter Rocks. He subsequently saw the passenger clinging to the tail of the partially submerged aircraft and went for assistance, returning a short time later with a rescue party The passenger was found wandering along the beach in a dazed and injured condition, but there was no sign of the pilot. The aircraft had sunk but was located and dragged ashore sustaining further severe damage during its recovery. The body of the pilot was found in his seat in the cabin with the safety belt fastened. The pilot had lost both legs in an accident and wore artificial limbs for which the rudder controls of the aircraft had been modified. There is no evidence to suggest that his disability contributed to the occurrence or to his failure to evacuate the aircraft.
Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 155KB]
General details
Date: 26 June 1972   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1115 CST    
Location: Cape Banks, Carpenter Rocks    
State: South Australia   Occurrence type: Collision with terrain  
Release date: 29 August 1973   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: Fatal  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Cessna Aircraft Company  
Aircraft model 150  
Aircraft registration VH-KQX  
Type of operation Aerial Work  
Damage to aircraft Substantial  
Departure point Mount Gambier  
Departure time 0947  
Destination Mount Gambier  
Last update 13 May 2014