Australian miner killed in Indonesian plane crash

Australian Ian McDougall has died in a plane crash while carrying out an aerial survey in East Kalimantan, Indonesia.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) have confirmed the 57 year old mining surveyor was among those killed in the crash, according to The Australian.

“His family in Indonesia are receiving consular assistance,” the spokesperson said.

“We are seeking to make contact with his family in Australia.”

He was in a chartered aircraft – a Susi Air Pilatus PC-6 – piloted by South African Jonathon Willis, when the plane hit trouble five hours into the survey at around 5.20 pm local time.

McDougall reportedly texted his employer, PT Surtech Group, stating that the plane was having a fuel problem and would attempt an emergency landing, just before it crashed.

According to Susi Air director Christian Von Strombeck, it appeared that the plane was attempting to land on a nearby road when it crashed.

He stated that while the plane had not run out of fuel, fuel management may have been a factor in the accident.

"We still don’t know how it could have been a fuel problem. The fuel tank was full and it was supposed to last for seven hours. We don’t want to speculate at this point."

Von Strombeck added that "we have to assume the engine was not running at that point".

Susi Air has reportedly previously come under fire, after it suffered five deaths in only nine months, and the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) of Indonesia has previously suspended the company’s AOC, finding in a report released in January this year that the company’s safety management system was dysfunctional.

This is not the first time an Australian has died in crash while flying with Susi Air.

In September an Australian and Slovak man were killed when their plane went down in remote West Papua.

Two more Australian lost their lives in August last year when their chartered helicopter went down while it was making its way to Newcrest’s Gosowong mine.

The incidents were unrelated.

It is currently unknown was caused this most recent crash, as the plan was less than three years old and the pilot, Jonathon Willis, was experienced, and both the plane and pilot had recently passed inspections.

Sources: The Australian, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Herald Sun, South Africa’s News 24, News.com.au.

Image: The Herald Sun.

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