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At about 1030 Eastern Standard Time on 23 May 2007, a Piper Aircraft Inc. PA-32-260 aircraft, registered VH-PYD (PYD), departed Horn Island, Queensland, for a visual flight rules charter flight to Warraber Island, Queensland, with the pilot and three passengers onboard. Approximately 25 NM from Warraber Island, the aircraft experienced difficulties with the powerplant and was forced to ditch into the waters of the Torres Strait. Having received only minor injuries, the occupants exited the aircraft before it sank. The occupants were located and rescued within an hour of the ditching.

Shortly after commencing the descent into Warraber Island, the pilot noticed that the engine speed had increased beyond the normal range. Several unsuccessful attempts were made to reduce the engine speed, and within a short time the engine stopped producing power. Without engine power, the aircraft was not able to maintain altitude and given the aircraft's distance from land was forced to ditch into the water.

Because the aircraft was not recovered, the factors that resulted in the powerplant failure could not be determined; however it was probable that they were related to a problem with the forward most crankshaft bearing.

In addition to the favourable sea, the pilot's recently acquired knowledge from the company's emergency procedures training likely contributed to the successful ditching.

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General details
Date: 23 May 2007 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 1058 EST  
Location   (show map):15NM SW Warraber Island Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: Queensland Occurrence type: Engine failure or malfunction 
Release date: 27 October 2008 Occurrence class: Technical 
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Accident 
 Highest injury level: Minor 
Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer: Piper Aircraft Corp 
Aircraft model: PA-32 
Aircraft registration: VH-PYD 
Serial number: 32-17 
Type of operation: Charter 
Damage to aircraft: Destroyed 
Departure point:Horn Island, Qld
Departure time:1030
Destination:Warraber Is, Qld
Crew details
RoleClass of licenceHours on typeHours total
Minor: 1102
None: 0202
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Last update 14 November 2018