The GippsAero GA8 Airvan ran off the runway on Avoid Island, 20km offshore and 100km south of Mackay, just before 4pm this afternoon. The single engine aircraft had seven people aboard including the pilot and was taking off bound for Mackay when the incident happened.
The Mackay-based rescue helicopter arrived on the scene in teeming rain just after 4.30pm with a Critical Care Paramedic (CCP) aboard. A RACQ CQ Rescue crewman said the aircraft appeared to have run off the runway and down a steep bank towards the water’s edge although the plane sustained very little damage.
The pilot, a 31-year-old Andergrove man, suffered only minor injuries to his right ankle but fortunately none of the six passengers were injured in the accident. None of them required hospitalisation or further medical treatment.
The helicopter departed with the injured pilot and three passengers on board at 5pm, about 15 minutes after landing on the island. Three of the passengers involved in the crash remained on Avoid Island in accommodation they had previously been staying in.
RACQ CQ Rescue landed back at the helicopter hangar at Mackay Airport with the four people aboard at 5.30pm. Transport had been organised for the injured pilot and three passengers by the owners of the aircraft.