News State QLD News Cause of skydive disaster ‘unknown’, tributes flow

Cause of skydive disaster ‘unknown’, tributes flow

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Investigators are examining the wreckage of a light plane that crashed and burst into flames at an airfield north of Brisbane, killing all five people on board.

Witnesses say the Cessna 206 disintegrated in a fireball when it crashed shortly after taking off from the Caboolture Airfield on Saturday.

Police have yet to release the names of the dead, believed to be the pilot, two skydiving instructors and two clients.

The instructors have been identified in the media as Juraj Glesk and Glenn Norman.

Tributes to both men have been posted on the Skydive Bribie Facebook page, run by operator Adrenalin Skydivers, many from former clients expressing thanks for their professionalism during recent jumps and shock at their deaths.

“Horrible news. I jumped only a few months ago and had the pleasure of going up with Juraj and Glenn! Great people who passed doing what they loved. My condolences to all at Skydive Bribie,” said one.

“The spirit of these men will live on forever in the hearts of all of us who’ve jumped with you. Incredible guys who gave us the experience of a lifetime. Never to be forgotten, thinking of all those involved in this awful tragedy,” said another.

Australian Transport Safety Bureau investigators will go over the wreckage, interview witnesses and study the weather as they try to piece together what went wrong, an ATSB spokesman said.

Airport safety officer Bryan Carpenter said the plane veered to the left, plunged to the ground and was destroyed by flames within a minute of impact.

Mr Carpenter and Mark Thompson, from the Caboolture Warplane Museum, said it was the worst crash they’d seen at the airfield.

“They’ve had a couple of incidents here but nothing like this,” said Mr Thompson, who ran about 200 metres to the scene after hearing a loud thud and seeing a plume of smoke.

Mr Carpenter said the crash could have been caused by any number of things.

“One of the things one would expect would be an engine failure but the engine was delivering power on touchdown,” he told Fairfax Radio Network on Saturday.

“So it’s something mechanical I would say … or the pilot could have blacked out – any number of scenarios; it’s a bit like MH370 at the moment, we just don’t know.”