On 10 November 2007 at approximately 0830 Central Standard Time, a Cessna Aircraft Company 172N, registered VH-WLQ, with two pilots and a passenger on board departed Katherine, NT on a private, visual flight rules (VFR) flight to Tennant Creek. At about 1030, the aircraft struck a powerline which spanned the Stuart Highway 20 km north of Elliott. The aircraft's tail section was broken rearwards from the aft fuselage, rendering the aircraft uncontrollable and causing it to impact the highway in a steep nose-down attitude. The three occupants were fatally injured. The aircraft was destroyed.
There was no evidence of an aircraft or operational reason for the flight below 500 ft above ground level (AGL). Based on a lack of evidence to the contrary, the investigation concluded that the descent to, and flight at low level was probably as a result of a conscious decision by the pilots.
The investigation was unable to establish which of the pilots was flying the aircraft at the time of the accident.
|Date:||10 November 2007||Investigation status:||Completed|
|Time:||1135 CST||Investigation level:||Systemic - click for an explanation of investigation levels|
|Location:||20 km north of Elliott|
|State:||Northern Territory||Occurrence type:||Wirestrike|
|Release date:||30 October 2008||Occurrence category:||Accident|
|Report status:||Final||Highest injury level:||Fatal|
|Aircraft manufacturer||Cessna Aircraft Company|
|Type of operation||Private|
|Damage to aircraft||Destroyed|
|Departure point||Katherine, NT|
|Departure time||0830 CST|
|Destination||Tennant Creek, Northern Territory|