Five Killed In Far North Queensland Plane Crash
A plane carrying five people had failed to land twice on Wednesday morning before it crashed into sand dunes on Queensland's far north, killing everyone on board.
The wreckage of the light aircraft was found at about 1:20pm on Wednesday, hours after a large search operation was launched to find the missing plane.
Queensland police have confirmed there were no survivors, as investigators now begin to piece together exactly what caused the crash.
Police believe the plane, which was flying in poor weather conditions, attempted to land twice on Wednesday morning before tragically crashing into sand dunes near the Lockhart River airstrip on its third attempt.
Police said all five men on board, including the pilot and four passengers, were Cairns locals.
The group has not been publicly identified, however on Wednesday evening police confirmed the ages of all five men including the 39-year-old pilot.
The four passengers were aged 49, 57, 62 and 63.
Earlier police said they were still working to contact next of kin.
Counselling is being offered to the coworkers of the deceased.
The search for the missing plane which was "overdue" began at about 11:30 am on Wednesday.
A number of police, maritime safety teams and two rescue helicopters conducted a search for the light aircraft before it was located.
Acting Chief Superintendent Chris Hodgman said it took crews some time to find the wreckage because of the difficult terrain and weather and said the victims' bodies would also have to remain at the scene for some time.
The crash occurred in the same region where the Bureau of Meteorology had warned of high winds and flooding rains due to a tropical low that is expected to develop into a cyclone over the Coral Sea at the weekend.
"It took us some time, if you know Lockhart River on the Eastern Cape it is quite interesting terrain up there and there are some monsoonal winds and rain up there at the moment so they are providing some difficult conditions," Hodgman said.
Perth-based charter company Aerohire has confirmed it was their aircraft and the Cessna's registration number was VH-OZO.
The Australian Transport and Safety Bureau said it was investigating the crash involving a twin-engined Cessna 404 Titan aircraft.
"ATSB transport safety investigators with experience in aircraft operations, aircraft maintenance and aeronautical engineering are preparing to deploy to the accident site," it said in a statement.
A preliminary report is expected to be released by the ATSB in one month's time before a full report is handed down in 18 months.
It's not the first time the area has witnessed a devastating air disaster.
In 2005 a crash at the Lockhart River claimed the lives of 15 people, in what remains one of Australia's worst air crashes.
"It's quite surreal to have another tragedy like this at Lockhart River," Hodgman said on Wednesday.