It is my saddest duty today to advise that three people have tragically lost their lives in a plane crash this afternoon near Cloncurry in north west Queensland.
The aircraft was contracted by QFES to support the bushfire response. It was travelling from Toowoomba to Mt Isa and was to continue line scans in northern Queensland when it crashed.
When we have a natural disaster in Queensland, we respond as a family. That family extends well beyond QFES and our emergency service colleagues. It includes private citizens contracted to support our aerial operations. Side by side, we have been fighting these bushfires as one and this tragedy is felt by all.
The aircraft was the same type as one that is used as the lead plane for the Large Aerial Tanker (LAT). Both the LAT and the lead plane will be grounded until we receive further advice from authorities.
We will assist the Australian Transport Safety Bureau with its investigation.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of those who lost their lives and also those who worked alongside them, including our Air Ops personnel.
Support is available for those who have been affected, either directly or indirectly, by this incident. The Fire and Emergency Services Support Network (FESSN) team, including our Peer Support Officers and Chaplains, are available.
If you're feeling vulnerable at this time, or just need to talk to someone, please reach out to your own support network or through FESSN.