Aircraft update

29 January 2019

One of Victoria’s water bombing aircraft has been involved in an incident during firefighting operations over the Thompson Catchment Complex fires in Gippsland. 

On Monday around 7.30pm the orange Aircrane, named Christine, went down in a small dam near the catchment.

This dam is not the Thomson catchment which supplies Melbourne with drinking water but a small dam near the catchment.

The three crew, two pilots and engineer are safe after swimming to the edge of the dam. They were assessed by paramedics for minor injuries and as a precaution transported to Latrobe Regional Hospital.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau and WorkSafe will investigate the circumstances around the incident. 

Victoria’s second Aircrane, Delilah, will continue to operate in Victoria after it was cleared for service by National Aerial Firefighting Centre. 

The incident has not affected aircraft operations over the Thompson Complex fire and aircraft will continue firefighting efforts on the fire. The Aircrane was one of ten aircraft working on the fire on Monday. 

Victoria has 49 aircraft available for the summer season, which includes a mix of water bombing aircraft, air supervision and aerial intelligence gathering aircraft. 

Victoria has a surge capacity fleet that can supplement the 49 aircraft. This list has up to 100 aircraft that can be called when needed. 

As part of the national aircraft fleet, Victoria can access aircraft from other states, including NSW and SA-based aircraft when required and likewise, Victoria’s aircraft can operate interstate if it is required.