Aviation safety investigations & reports

Wirestrike - 20 km N Elliott, NT, 10 November 2007, VH-WLQ, Cessna Aircraft Company 172N

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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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.

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 884KB]
General details
Date: 10 November 2007   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1135 CST   Investigation level: Systemic - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): 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 details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Cessna Aircraft Company  
Aircraft model 172  
Aircraft registration VH-WLQ  
Serial number 17271888  
Type of operation Private  
Damage to aircraft Destroyed  
Departure point Katherine, NT  
Departure time 0830 CST  
Destination Tennant Creek, Northern Territory  
  Crew Passenger Ground Total
Fatal: 1 2 0 3
Total: 1 2 0 3
Last update 03 April 2020