Plane in fatal crash serviced before Christmas
IT WAS a flight path done "thousands" of times before, but in every pilot's worst nightmare, it takes just one moment of tragedy to change it all.
An investigation continues into what caused the 1770 Castaway light plane to plough into a beach at Middle Island.
The crash left a 29-year-old UK woman dead and two others in critical condition, including the pilot Les 'Woody' Woodall.
Sharing details about the aircraft involved in the crash, 1770 Castaway owner Bruce Rhoades said it recently had an upgrade.
The 1973 light plane was re-fitted with a new engine three years ago, approved by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority.
By law, light planes used for operational work must be serviced by a licenced aircraft company every 100 hours, or every year, depending which comes first.
Mr Rhoades said the last service for the Cessna 172M was "just before Christmas".
Helicopter rescue crew explain their involvement:
"I've made it very clear I don't consider it to be a remote possibility of pilot error," Mr Rhoades said.
Mr Rhoades said Woody had just made a "routine fly by" and would have been re-circling in preparation to land.
"He was carrying out a routine beach inspection as per normal for that tour," he said.
"You fly by at 50 feet to check for potholes before you land."
He said the crash happened "about 150 metres" away from the camp site where they usually landed.
Gladstone pilot Hugh Bridge said it was difficult to predict what could have gone wrong.
Mr Bridge, a Gladstone recreational pilot, said Woody was " unlucky".
"Both pilots, the one who had the mishap, he would have thousands of hours up with no problems. He was just unlucky," Mr Bridge said.
"You can lessen the damage which obviously he's done."