Several loud bangs were heard from a plane before it crashed and disinter grated in a fireball, killing five people, north of Brisbane.
A series of loud bangs heard before a plane crashed, killing five people in Queensland, may provide clues to what caused the accident, investigators say.
Witnesses say the Cessna 206 veered left before crashing and bursting into flames, shortly after taking off from the Caboolture Airfield, north of Brisbane, on Saturday morning.
Police are yet to release the names of the dead but they are believed to be passengers Joey King and his fiancee Rahi Hohua, skydiving instructors Glenn Norman and Juraj Glesk, and the pilot.
An Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) spokesman says witnesses indicated the weather was clear and it had been the third flight the plane had taken that day.
Aviation Safety Investigations’ Greg Madden says investigators are interested in reports of several loud bangs when the plane was taking off.
“We’ll be considering that aspect when we’re looking at the wreckage, to find out what the origin of those noises was,” he told AAP.
“It may end up that we take some of the aircraft components back to the ATSB facility for closer examination.”
But Mr Madden warned that the investigation would be limited because the plane was almost totally destroyed by the fire and there wasn’t a lot to work with.
“This type of aeroplane is not required to have flight data recorders or anything like the larger airliners,” he said.
“So we’re really relying on the physical evidence and witness statements to try to determine what led to this tragic accident.”
Just hours before the crash, Mr King posted a chilling message on Facebook about his fear of skydiving.
“So I woke up this morning nervous as hell about the sky diving today,” he wrote.
“I’m about to conquer my greatest fear. I love everyone lol.”
The Department of Community Safety has declined to comment about Mr Norman, who is believed to have been a firefighter at Woodridge Station.
Mark Thompson, from the Caboolture Warplane Museum, said it was the worst crash he’d ever seen at the airfield.
“They’ve had a couple of incidents here but nothing like this,” said Mr Thompson.
He ran about 200 metres to the scene after hearing a loud thud and seeing a plume of smoke.
The ATSB said their preliminary report into the crash will be completed by April 23.