Three people are dead after light plane assisting firefighters battling fierce bushfires crashed in ‘difficult terrain’ in the Australian outback.
Emergency services rushed to the site of the crash at McKinlay near the Eloise Copper Mine south of Cloncurry in north-west Queensland around 2.30pm.
The Rescue 400 helicopter located the ‘unsurvivable’ wreckage from the air as ground crews made their way to the site.
Police arrived on scene around 5pm, where three people on board were located and confirmed dead.
Emergency crews are racing the scene of a light plane crash near the Eloise Copper Mine, about 70 kilometres south of Cloncurry in north-west Queensland
Emergency crews and mine rescue teams remain on scene on Saturday night to recovery the wreckage.
The aircraft was contracted by Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) to provide fire mapping support to the state’s ongoing bushfire crisis.
‘It was engaged by QFES to conduct line scans, and travelling from Toowoomba to Mt Isa when it crashed near Cloncurry,’ a spokesperson said.
‘The cause of the crash is currently unknown.’
The QFES offered its deepest condolences to the families of those who lost their lives.
‘Our thoughts and prayers are with the families at this time,’ a spokesperson said.
‘Side by side we have been fighting these bushfires and their loss is felt by all.’
The plane crashed in difficult terrain near the Eloise Copper Mine (pictured)
The Queensland Polie forensic crash unit will investigate the crash and prepare a report for the coroner.
The ATSB will also launch a separate investigation into what went wrong.
The plane left Toowoomba around 11am and vanished from the radar within an hours of its expected arrival in Mount Isa at 3pm.
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