Engine failure forces landing on rural road at Stanwell

Austin King

IT ALL started at Beef Australia 2009 and, for a brief moment yesterday, a Northern Territory couple could have been forgiven for thinking it could have ended at Beef Australia 2015.

Thankfully, pilot couple Fred and Sarah Hughes got out of their Cessna 206 aircraft unscathed after they made an emergency landing on a road in Stanwell.

Fred and Sarah were flying their aircraft yesterday morning from their Lake Nash Station in the Northern Territory to Rockhampton for Beef Australia 2015.

They were flying from the direction of Dingo, 140km west of Stanwell.

As they were flying across a hilltop, about 100m-plus from the Stanwell store (as the crow flies), the engine-failure light started flashing.

Sarah, who has had a pilot's licence for just over a year, was the commanding pilot.

Her husband, who has more than six years' flying experience, was in the co-pilot's chair, and advised Sarah to find the nearest and safest place to land the small plane.

Emergency crews wait for engineer to arrive at emergency landing site.
Emergency crews wait for engineer to arrive at emergency landing site. Austin King

They touched down about 1.5km up the Stanwell-Waroula Rd, off the Capricorn Hwy, without any other major hitches.

Fire, ambulance and police crews rushed to the scene but were thanking their lucky stars they weren't attending a major aircraft accident.

They waited at the scene for an engineer from Rockhampton to inspect and repair the aircraft.

"It was terrifying because we've never had this experience before," Sarah said.

"I just want to get to the beef expo and have a nice, cold drink."

Fred and Sarah kindled a romance six years ago at the Beef Australia 2009 event in Rockhampton.

She had worked for Beef Australia at the past two events.

Austin King

Their cattle station is about 1,699,680ha and they breed brangus-angus cattle, among others. They are also increasing the number of wagyu cattle they transfer from other stations.

"We are planning to attend several events at Beef Australia and we just want things to sail smoothly from now," Sarah said.

RACQ Capricorn Helicopter Rescue pilot Mitch Vernon said his heart raced when he received the first call to attend the scene.

"Attending an aviation accident can be confronting and a little close to home."

Topics:  beef australia cessna emergency landing stanwell

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