Five people have been confirmed dead in a light plane crash in Queensland.
The light plane hit the ground and burst into flames on Saturday at Caboolture Airport, near Brisbane. It is believed the passengers on board were skydivers.
Emergency services rushed to the scene and fire crews extinguished the blaze. Photographs from the site show devastating debris spread over the ground.
A Queensland Fire and Rescue Service spokeswoman described the incident as a “significant crash”. Emergency services were confronted with a fire on arriving at the scene late Saturday morning, she said.
“Because it was a light plane, [the fire] was relatively easy to control,” she said.
A Caboolture Aero Club spokesman would not confirm reports that the plane belonged to one of several skydiving firms that utilise the strip.
He told Fairfax there was a “fair idea” who the plane belonged to but until confirmation had been received, it would be wrong to speculate.
“The aircraft cannot be identified at this time – and I’m standing 50 metres from it,” he said.
Grahame Hill, director of aircraft operations for the nation’s peak skydiving body, the Australian Parachute Federation, was boarding a plane to Brisbane from Sydney on Saturday afternoon to help with the investigation.
He said the skydiving community was devastated by the crash.
“I’ve spoken to some people up there and they’re just gutted; it’s terrible,” Mr Hill said.
Mr Hill said that the company involved specialised in skydiving trips over Bridie Island.
“It’s too early to tell what’s happened, but obviously something has gone wrong with the plane because it crashed right after take-off.
“This isn’t a skydiving accident, it’s a plane accident; they were just on their way to do the skydiving.”
He said the skydiving company, which he did not name, was a popular one and had never been involved in any incidents before.
“I’m on my way there now to do whatever I can to assist.
“Our association’s role is to regulate the safety of the industry and that’s what I’m on my way there to do.”