On the morning of 16 October 2008, a Gippsland Aeronautics GA-8 Airvan, registered VH-WRT, was being operated on a freight charter flight from Elcho Island and return, Northern Territory. At about 1230, it was realised that the aircraft was missing. A witness reported seeing the aircraft during the early stages of the flight and, shortly afterwards, a column of dark black smoke rising from the eastern side of the Napier Peninsula. On 17 October 2008, items of wreckage from the aircraft were found in the south-western part of Buckingham Bay. The pilot, who was the sole occupant of the aircraft, and the main wreckage of the aircraft have not been found. After consideration of the available evidence, the investigation was unable to identify any factor that contributed to the accident.
Although the investigation did not identify any issues that had the potential to adversely affect the safety of future operations, the operator took proactive safety action in response to the accident. That action included changed procedures in the areas of cargo restraint and the carriage of dangerous goods, the supervision and oversight of flights, and to the operator's flight following requirements. In addition, the operator has acted to reduce pilot workload.
Preliminary report released 19 December 2008
On the morning of 16 October 2008, a Gippsland Aeronautics GA-8 Airvan, registered VH-WRT, being operated on a freight charter flight, was reported missing near Elcho Island, NT. Subsequently, items of wreckage from the aircraft were found in Buckingham Bay. The pilot, who was the sole occupant of the aircraft, was assumed to be fatally injured.
|Date:||16 October 2008||Investigation status:||Completed|
|Time:||0945 CST||Investigation level:||Complex - click for an explanation of investigation levels|
|Location:||Elcho Island 170 deg M 20 Km|
|State:||Northern Territory||Occurrence type:||Collision with terrain|
|Release date:||19 July 2010||Occurrence class:||Operational|
|Report status:||Final||Occurrence category:||Accident|
|Highest injury level:||Fatal|
|Aircraft manufacturer||Gippsland Aeronautics Pty Ltd|
|Type of operation||Charter|
|Damage to aircraft||Serious|
|Departure point||Elcho Island, NT|
|Destination||Mata Mata, NT|