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Summary

Summary

The aircraft was observed shortly after it had taken off towards the south-east, flying at a very low eight along the beach towards the Tangalooma resort. The aircraft flew over the resort area, and was seen by witnesses to perform a steep climbing manoeuvre. The aircraft then descended steeply, dived into the water whilst heading in a westerly direction away from the resort, and sank.

The aircraft appeared to be operating normally prior to the accident. There was no physiological or mechanical evidence found which may have contributed to the development of the accident. No defect was found which may have precluded normal engine operation; however the engine appears to have not been delivering power at the time of impact.

The prevailing wind at the time of the accident was a strong south-easterly which is known to cause mechanical turbulence in the lee of the island. This may have affected the pilot's ability to recover from the manoeuvre under the circumstances.

The investigation did not reveal any reason for the unusually low flight path and manoeuvre immediately prior to the accident. The engine could not be functionally tested because of impact damage.

Significant factor

The following factor was considered relevant to the development of the accident: The pilot attempted a manoeuvre at a height from which safe recovery could not be effected.

 
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