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The Australian Transport Safety Bureau did not conduct an on scene investigation of this occurrence. The report presented below was derived from information supplied to the Bureau.

The pilot of a Cessna 210 aircraft, registered VH-TFI, who was the sole occupant of the aircraft, was conducting a freight charter flight to several locations in the Northern Territory.

At Baikal airstrip the pilot added 100 L of fuel to the aircraft's left fuel tank from drum stock stored at the airstrip.

Shortly after takeoff, the pilot selected the left fuel tank. The engine then began to surge and run roughly. After seeking advice from the company maintenance staff, he attempted, unsuccessfully, to identify the problem before landing at Utopia station.

The pilot again sought advice from the company maintenance staff before departing Utopia station. Soon after departure, engine oil sprayed onto the windscreen and the engine caught fire and lost power. The pilot intended to return to Utopia station, but almost immediately, the engine failed completely. During the forced landing in an area of low scrub and scattered trees, the pilot sustained facial injuries and the loss of some teeth, but after regaining consciousness was able to vacate the aircraft unassisted. The aircraft was substantially damaged.

Examination of the aircraft by a company engineer revealed that the engine had failed after sustaining catastrophic damage due to contamination of the aircraft's fuel by Jet A1 fuel. The operator reported that when refuelling the aircraft at Baikal, the pilot inadvertently used a drum of Jet A1 fuel.

The operator advised the ATSB that they have amended their refuelling procedures to preclude a recurrence of this accident.

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