The West

Regulator looks into aviator after plane veers off-course
During a take-off run this Cessna T210 passenger aircraft veered off the Cape Leveque airstrip, hitting trees and bushes.

Safety experts are investigating an incident after a charter plane carrying five passengers was damaged “substantially” when it veered off a runway and hit trees and bushes.

The Cessna T210 operated by Kimberley Aviation was enroute from Cape Leveque to Broome when the pilot experienced problems while powering along for take off about 11am on December 30.

No one was injured.

Ann Vollmer, one of the managers at luxury indigenous owned wilderness camp Kooljaman, which is responsible for the adjacent airstrip, said the passengers had flown up for a day trip.

“At the time the guests were shaken but were looked after by staff while they waited for alternative transport,” she said. No one was reported hurt in the incident.

The accident is being investigated by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau. The Civil Aviation Safety Authority has been informed.

An ATSB summary of the incident, posted to its website, said the aircraft veered off the runway during a take-off run.

“The aircraft collided with trees and sustained substantial damage,” the site said.

Kimberley Aviation owner Sadie Prendergast said the plane ran into (potholes) and deep sand on the airstrip.

But Kooljaman advisers said it was in good condition, without either of these features.

“As part of our ongoing safety program the airstrip is inspected daily,” a wilderness camp statement said.

“When reviewed that morning and after the incident there were no washouts or deep sand on the strip.”

The statement said the airstrip was closed after the departure of the last plane as a precaution, as the damaged aircraft was “impacting slightly on the safety area that runs along the edge of the strip”.

Ms Prendergast said damage to the aircraft looked worse than it was and passengers were happy with the pilot.

Ms Prendergast said Broome-based Kimberley Aviation had an impeccable safety record during its four years of operation.

CASA said it would review the ATSB report before it made a determination.

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