On the afternoon of 27 October 1973 Fokker P27 Series 400 aircraft registered VH-TFM, operated by Trails-Australia Airlines was engaged on scheduled Regular Public Transport Plight NO. 1497 from Melbourne to Wynyard. It was under the command of Captain LI. Denheld with First Officer B.J. Widmer as the other flight crew member. The aircraft carried two hostesses and 28 passengers. In instrument meteorological conditions, and while offshore in the area between Wynyard and Devonport, the aircraft was reportedly flown at heights below the minimum altitude specified for IFR operations.