A skydiving plane that crashed shortly after take off at Caboolture, killing five people. Photo: Seven News
A skydiving plane that crashed shortly after take off at Caboolture, killing five people. Photo: Seven News

Loose pilot seat probe for fatal Caboolture flight

AN allegedly unsecured pilot's seat is being investigated as the cause of a plane crash that killed four skydivers and a pilot near Brisbane last month but the aircraft's owner has denied it was faulty.

Pilot Andrew Aitken, 24, skydiving instructors Glenn Norman and Juraj Glesk and first-time parachutists and couple Rahuia Hohua, 27, and her fiance Joseph King, 32, died when the Cessna 206 aircraft they were flying in crashed at Caboolture Airfield about 50 kilometres north of Brisbane on March 22.

The single-engine plane, that was being used by Skydive Bribie Island to take Ms Hohua and Mr King on their first jump reportedly veered left shortly after take-off and speared into the ground and exploded.

Fairfax has learnt that the same plane had been seen parked at Gladstone on the Central Queensland Coast with the pilot's seat off the seat guide rails - information which was passed to the Australian Transport Safety Bureau investigators.

Cessna has previously issued warnings to users to ensure replacement of seat railings and worn tracks and the installation of special seat movement stoppers.

The checks and seat stoppers were recommended after crashes occurred when seats became unstable, unseating the pilots and leaving them unable to control the aircraft.

The revelations came as Fairfax obtained a DVD filmed anonymously and purporting to show images of issues with Skydive Bribie's fuel storage and refuelling procedures.

But Skydive Bribie owner Paul Turner, who is a veteran skydiving instructor, on Tuesday denied all the allegations, saying he had "nothing to hide".

Mr Turner confirmed the plane did not have an extra seat movement stopper that Cessna had recommended, but he said he had done all the work as recommended by his maintenance people.

More on this at Brisbanetimes.com.au

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