Pilots Escape Unscathed From Firebomber Crash-Landing In Australia


Two pilots, believed to be Canadian nationals, escaped without serious injury from the fiery crash of a Boeing 737 that was conducting firefighting operations. The 737-300 “Fireliner,” operated by Coulson Aviation, had reportedly just completed one run on a 3,750-hectare brush fire and was circling for a second pass when it descended and crash-landed on flat terrain and burst into flames.

Both pilots were able to escape and were transported by helicopter to a hospital where they were photographed apparently unharmed. The aircraft was almost completely consumed by the post-crash fire.

The accident occurred in the Fitzgerald River National Park on Monday (Feb. 6) afternoon local time. The site is about 250 nautical miles southeast of Perth. The converted twin-jet tanker took off from the Brusselton-Margaret River Airport around 3:25 p.m. and crashed about 40 minutes into the mission, according to Australian news reports.

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Mark Phelps is a senior editor at AVweb. He is an instrument rated private pilot and former owner of a Grumman American AA1B and a V-tail Bonanza.

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    • This is a factual story with a somewhat misleading headline – especially when a 737 is involved – as the “grounding” was a routine response that affected the entire fleet based on company protocol.

  1. According to some, it was not only a landing but a good landing as everyone on board walked away. However, it was not a great landing as the plane is obviously is not in flyable condition.

  2. I don’t care if you call it a crash, a landing or anything else. If someone puts down a 737 off-airport and walks away from it, they are either flying a sim or they are a Very Good Pilot.

    Maybe the plane had tundra tires; those would help a lot.:-)