Courier Mail, The (Brisbane), 04/12/2002, pg. 10

AN investigation into a light plane crash which killed a pilot and three mental health workers in Toowoomba on November 27 last year has found the plane’s left engine could have been faulty.

In an interim report by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, an investigator said ground contact marks made by the left propeller indicated that the left engine was developing little, if any, power.

The Beech King Air C90 took off from Toowoomba airport and crashed one minute later, killing all four people on board, pilot Bruce Johnson and three mental health workers on their way to a clinic in Goondiwindi.

Those killed were psychiatrist Dr Allen Hughes, 35, from Britain, psychologist Alan Duckett, 45, from South Australia, and principal house officer, psychiatry, Dr Katharine Thompson, 25, from Canada.

The pilot, also killed, was Bruce Johnson, 28, from Emerald.

Wives of two of the crash victims, Vanessa Hughes and Megan Johnson, were pregnant at the time of the crash and have since had babies.

ATSB reported yesterday that the pilot’s last radio transmission was his departure transmission.

Witnesses at the airport reported hearing an unusual sound about the time the aircraft became airborne, saw it climb about 35-50m above ground level and bank to the left.

The aircraft then descended and crashed into powerlines and on to a road in an industrial area.

The Canadian-built engines have been sent to the Canadian Transportation Safety Board for further specialist examination.

ATSB investigations are continuing.

Copyright 2002 / Courier Mail