Earlier today, a Boeing 737 crashed while fighting a wildfire in Western Australia. According to ABC, the plane’s two pilots escaped the crash with only minor injuries. While not flying as high or fast as an airliner in passenger service, it’s hard to imagine being on an over 30-ton twin-engine jet as it hit the ground was a pleasant experience.
The Coulson Aviation Boeing 737-300 Fireliner was fighting two wildfires in Fitzgerald River National Park, roughly 275 miles southwest of Perth. Simple Flying reported that the 737 Fireliner had already completely two flights to drop fire retardant in the park. However, on the third flight, the Boeing did its pass of the area at 700 feet again but had an issue during its ascent up to a cruising altitude of 29,000 feet. The Fireliner only reached 1,800 feet before crashing.
According to Western Australia Police, the Coulson Aviation plane crashed a 4:40 p.m. local time. The aircraft had taken off at 3:25 p.m. from Busselton Margaret River Airport, 260 miles west of the national park. The pilots were recovered from the crash site by a St. John Ambulance WA helicopter and only suffered minor injuries. Coulson Group CEO Wayne Coulson said in a statement:
“The aircraft had two on board at the time of the accident. Both pilots walked away from the accident, and have been medically assessed. Our thoughts and our immediate concern is for those team members and their families. We are very grateful the two team members on Tanker 139 are safe.”
It is incredible that the pilots could walk away in any capacity from the plane crash. The WA Department of Fire and Emergency Services and the Australian Transport Safety Bureau are conducting separate investigations into how the Boeing 737 crashed in the national park.