Aviation safety investigations & reports

Engine failure and ditching near Warraber Island, Torres Strait 23 May 2007, VH-PYD, Piper Aircraft Inc. PA-32-260, Cherokee Six

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 351KB]

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.

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 351KB]
General details
Date: 23 May 2007   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1058 EST   Investigation level: Systemic - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): 15NM SW Warraber Island    
State: Queensland   Occurrence type: Engine failure or malfunction  
Release date: 27 October 2008   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: Minor  

Aircraft details

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
Role Class of licence Hours on type Hours total
Pilot-in-Command Commercial 17 936
  Crew Passenger Ground Total
Minor: 1 1 0 2
None: 0 2 0 2
Total: 1 3 0 4
Last update 03 April 2020