The pilot of a fatal plane crash on Christmas Eve in North Queensland was unlicensed and the plane had not been properly maintained for nearly a decade, according to a report.
An 83-year-old man died when the light plane crashed on Christmas Eve on a beach in Ball Bay, north of Mackay.
The 65-year-old pilot was airlifted to hospital with minor injuries.
The Australian Transport Safety Board said on Friday that its investigation “relatively quickly established that the aircraft…was being operated outside of aviation regulations”.
The ATSB said it halted its investigation because there was a “limited opportunity … to … uncover safety learnings for the broader aviation industry”.
However, Queensland Police said on Friday they were continuing their investigation into the accident, reviewing “all avenues of inquiry” with a report to be prepared for the coroner.
The ATSB investigation found the pilot was flying the plane – an amateur-built Jodel D11 light aircraft – “outside the rules”, with the only seat belts due to have been replaced more than 30 years ago.
“The pilot was not licensed to fly aircraft and the aircraft and engine had not been maintained in accordance with applicable regulations for approximately 10 years,” said ATSB chief commissioner Angus Mitchell. .
“The pilot and passenger seat belts were manufactured in May 1973 and were to be removed from service by January 1, 1990 in accordance with a Civil Aviation Safety Authority Airworthiness Directive.
“When owners operate outside the rules, they remove built-in security defenses and undetected issues are more likely to surface.”
Australian Associated Press