Two men have walked away from a light plane crash with only minor injuries after an engine malfunction during an attempted take-off from Kununurra Airport last week.
The plane, owned and operated by local charter company Shoal Air, had been scheduled to fly to Kalumburu, but the 37-year-old pilot was forced to make an emergency landing alongside the runway about 8.50am.
A police spokesman said the Cessna 182 lost power shortly after takeoff and had not gained much altitude before attempting to land on the Ord River side of the runway.
The spokesman said the pilot deployed the plane’s landing gear and went to land in the clear strip to the right of the runway, but the ground was boggy and the plane skidded when it hit the ground. The plane then nosed into the ground, flipped and landed upside down in tall grass next to the airstrip.
Shoal Air managing director Steve Irvine said the company was keen to get to the bottom of the crash and would assist the Australian Transport Safety Bureau and the Civil Aviation Safety Authority with their investigations.
“We have first-class procedures and safety is a priority of the company,” he said. “We’ve had a blemish free record for the past five years and it is a shock to all of us, but most importantly two people walked away (from the crash).”
Mr Irvine said the pilot was “experienced and very competent” and had worked with the company over the past wet season in Kununurra. Both the pilot and his 57-year-old passenger were taken to Kununurra District Hospital with minor injuries.