A plane that crashed and killed two men near in December reportedly trailed black sooty smoke and spluttered before crashing in a corn field.
A plane that crashed and killed two men near in December reportedly trailed black sooty smoke and spluttered before crashing in a corn field.

Doomed aircraft ‘spluttered’ after takeoff at Mareeba

ONE of the engines on a plane that crashed and killed two men near Mareeba last December reportedly trailed "black sooty smoke" and "spluttered" before the aircraft rolled and crashed in a cornfield.

Authors of an Australian Transport Safety Bureau preliminary report into the fatal plane crash near Mareeba Aerodrome examined witness accounts of the December 14 crash that killed Cooktown's William Scott-Bloxam, 73, and Geoff Burry, 63, of Stuart, but did not publish any findings to be detailed in an investigator's final report.

The crash site near Mareeba Airport. SOURCE: ATSB
The crash site near Mareeba Airport. SOURCE: ATSB

The two men were fatally injured when their Angel Aircraft Corporation Model 44 twin-engine light plane crashed near the Mareeba Aerodrome.

"Witnesses heard the aircraft during takeoff and reported that it sounded like one of the engines was misfiring," the report stated.

"An aircraft maintainer at the airport … reported seeing black sooty smoke trailing from the right engine."

Pilot William Scott-Bloxam and his wife Vera of Cape Air Transport Torres Strait.
Pilot William Scott-Bloxam and his wife Vera of Cape Air Transport Torres Strait.

The report said the aircraft, carrying a factory rebuilt right engine and a factory overhauled left engine, touched down before taking off again.

"Witnesses … heard one engine 'splutter'," the report stated.

"The aircraft was observed … in a right descending turn, before it suddenly rolled right.

"The right wing dropped to near vertical and the aircraft collided in a cornfield."

The ongoing investigation will cover recovered components, the aircraft's records, aircraft and site survey data, the pilot history, regulatory requirements and previous similar occurrences.


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