Durham Downs Station plane crash

Yesterday morning Durham Downs cattle station pilot Darren Zanker and station mechanic Graham McNamara died instantly when the station Cessna they were in crashed on Durham Downs (far south west Queensland, between Eromanga and the SA border).    Apparently they were returning from repairing a truck at Woomanooka outstation to the east, and were asked to help look for a couple of horses on their way back.  The plane went down just 6-7 km from the Durham Downs airstrip, presumably in the Cooper Channels, which are not accessible to vehicles at present due to one of the wettest seasons on record.  A Santos chopper from Ballera, the nearby oil & gas plant, flew over to help with a nurse on board however nothing could be done.

When I visited Durham a few weeks ago I found it to be one of the happiest camps I’ve ever come across.  An accident like this is everyone’s worst nightmare.  What a waste, what a tragedy, and my sympathy goes to everyone on the station and everyone nearby who knew these blokes.  Especially the families of the blokes who died – including Graham McNamara’s wife and young baby, who will never now get to know his father.

The cause of the plane crash isn’t yet know and as S Kidman & Co managing Director Greg Campbell was quoted as saying, there could be any number of causes –  ‘some type of medical emergency affected the pilot, mechanical error, an error of judgement, hitting a bird’.   The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) are investigating the cause of the crash.