The ATSB has commenced a transport safety investigation into the collision with terrain of a light aircraft near Bloomsbury, Queensland.

A search and rescue operation was launched on the evening of 2 April after a Piper Cherokee did not arrive at Lakeside Airpark, after departing a property south of Charters Towers. A wreckage site was located on 3 April, approximately 30 km south-west of Proserpine.

The ATSB is deploying a team of transport safety investigators from its Canberra, Melbourne and Brisbane offices, with experience in aircraft operations, maintenance and engineering, and human factors, to the accident site to begin the evidence collection phase of the investigation.

ATSB investigators will survey the accident site and collect any relevant components for further examination and analysis. They will also obtain and review any recorded data, weather information, witness reports, and aircraft operator procedures and maintenance records.

The ATSB anticipates publishing a preliminary report, which will detail factual information established during the investigation’s initial evidence collection phase, in approximately 6-8 weeks.

The ATSB will publish a final report, detailing contributing factors and any identified safety issues, at the conclusion of the investigation.

However, should any critical safety issues be identified at any stage during the course of the investigation, the ATSB will immediately notify relevant parties so appropriate safety action can be taken.