Chilling audio has captured the moment air traffic controllers attempted to reach a grandad, who was flying a plane with his three kids on board, only to be met with radio silence.
The grandfather and his three grandchildren died after the light plane he was flying crashed near Canberra on Friday.
The 65 year old man, who was an experienced pilot, was on board the four-seater Cirrus SR22 with his 11 year old grandson and his two granddaughters who were aged nine and six.
The aircraft crashed minutes after takeoff from Canberra Airport crashing to the ground and bursting into flames near Lake George in the NSW Tablelands.
The grandfather, from Bunya in Queensland, is said to have hundreds of hours of flying experience.
Air traffic audio - obtained by The Daily Mail - captured the last audio transmission from the doomed flight as it took off from Canberra.
Referred to as Mike Sierra Foxtrot, the plane is heard replying “copy” as he is cleared for takeoff.
Later in the flight, air traffic controllers tell the pilot to “resume navigation and track direct to Cullen”, referring to a small town in NSW.
“Direct, Cullen, Mike Sierra Foxtrot,” the pilot is heard replying.
The message appears to be the last to emerge from the pilot until another traffic controller repeatedly asks: “Mike Sierra Foxtrot, this is Canberra approach.”
In the audio clip, there is no response from the grandfather.
It prompts another air traffic controller to respond: “All stations, be advised a flight has just dropped off radar so there may be some delays at the moment until we can get some further instructions.”
NSW Police have confirmed that four people where killed sometime before 3pm on Friday.
“Initial inquiries indicate the Cirrus SR22 aircraft took off from Canberra Airport about 2.30pm and was travelling to Armidale with four people – a man and three children – believed to be on board at the time,” NSW Police said in a statement.
“They are yet to be formally identified. A report will be prepared for the information of the coroner.”
Police Superintendent Cath Bradbury earlier said there were no survivors following the crash.
“When police arrived with RFS services there was a small grass fire and obviously a catastrophic crash of a small light aircraft,” she said.
“The RFS extinguished the plane – unfortunately there are no survivors.”
Firefighting crews worked quickly to extinguish the blaze and police have established a crime scene as investigations continue.
Officers from Monaro Police District are conducting inquiries into the incident, including confirming how many people were on board at the time.
The plane took off from Canberra at 2.30pm.
Six minutes later, the plane made a sharp plunge near Lake George with air traffic control unable to establish communications with the pilot.
Emergency services arrived at a property on Hadlow Drive, Gundaroo, 35km north of Queanbeyan, just before 3pm after a local resident reported seeing flames in the crash area.
Smoke was seen filling the air shortly afterwards as fire crews, ambulances and police vehicles rushed to the scene.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) have also been notified and will attend the scene.
The Cirrus SR-22 is a single-engine aircraft and is one of the most popular General Aviation aircraft in the world, regularly topping global bestseller lists.
There were “minimal witnesses” to the crash according to Superintendent Bradbury, who confirmed police would be working through the night to get to the bottom of what caused the horrific incident.
She described the crash as “heavy impact, which has caused a fire”.
ATSB chief commissioner Angus Mitchell said investigators were due to arrive at the scene on Friday night.
“Over coming days, investigators with experience in aircraft operations and maintenance will conduct a range of evidence-gathering activities on site including site mapping, wreckage examination, and recovery of aircraft components for further examination at the ATSB’s technical facilities in Canberra,” he told the ABC.
“Investigators will also seek to interview any witnesses and involved parties, and collect relevant recorded information including flight tracking data, as well as pilot and aircraft maintenance records, and weather information.”