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Unlicensed pilot charged over fatal Queensland plane crash

A man, 83, was killed when the home-built, two-seater Jodel D11 aircraft crashed north of Mackay.

A man, 83, was killed when the home-built, two-seater Jodel D11 aircraft crashed north of Mackay. Photo: AAP

An unlicensed pilot will face court after being charged over the death of a passenger in a light plane he was flying when it crashed in north Queensland.

The 66-year-old man was arrested at a home in Haliday Bay, near Mackay, on Tuesday following a probe by police and the Civil Aviation Safety Authority into the fatal crash at Ball Bay Beach on December 24, 2021.

An 83-year-old man was killed when the home-built, two-seater Jodel D11 aircraft hit the sand, with the pilot also hospitalised for his injuries.

The younger man has been charged with manslaughter, flying aircraft without a licence, and carrying out maintenance and flying without satisfying safety requirements.

He’s due to face Mackay Magistrates Court on Wednesday morning.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau ended its own probe into the accident in early November after finding that due to the circumstances, there was “limited opportunity” to “uncover safety learnings” for the aviation industry.

ATSB chief commissioner Angus Mitchell noted the passenger’s seatbelt, which was manufactured in 1973 and needed to be removed from service in 1990, had “completely failed”.

“When owners operate outside of the rules, they remove the built-in safety defences and undetected problems are more likely to emerge,” he said in a statement at the time.

– AAP

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