Boeing 737 crash site: 'It's a miracle they were able to exit the plane'
DFES / AP
A Boeing 737 crashed and caught fire in Australia.
The two pilots escaped almost unscathed in the incident in the west of the country.
The twin-engine plane, operated by Canadian airline Coulson Aviation, crashed late Monday while fighting wildfires in the Fitzgerald River National Park in the south-west of the country.
Both pilots were only slightly injured, said Australian Minister Stephen Dawson.
He said, "It's a miracle they were able to get off the plane."
The two pilots, believed to be Canadian citizens, have since been discharged from hospital.
According to the National Accident Investigation Board, this was the first serious accident involving a Boeing 737 in Australia.
Another crash already in 2020
The plane crashed shortly after dropping firefighting water during a turbulent flight.
Accident investigator Angus Mitchell said it was too early to draw any conclusions.
"When a large plane like this crashes, it's usually not just one thing that goes wrong, but often a whole series of things," Mitchell said.
However, he also said that it is common for such large aircraft to be converted for firefighting operations, for example.
The machine had started from an airport about 500 kilometers from the scene of the accident.
It was the plane's second action in a runaway forest fire near the coastal town of Hopetoun.
In 2020, a Coulson Aviation aircraft crashed during a firefighting operation in Australia.
Three American pilots died in the crash of the C-130 Hercules, which had been converted into a fire-fighting aircraft, in the state of New South Wales.
A connection between the two crashes at Coulson Aviation is not yet apparent, said Mitchell.
Statements about possible consequences for the safety of other Boeing 737 machines are not yet possible.