A red eye plane that was shot down by Australian government troops after taking off from a military base in the Goldfields, Queensland, was found abandoned in a remote bushland area, officials said on Friday.
The plane was flying over the remote desert area of South West Queensland when it crashed, leaving debris strewn across a small area of land, the Australian Defence Force said in a statement.
“The aircraft had been in the air for more than 20 minutes when it was discovered by Australian soldiers at a remote location in South West Australia,” it said.
The pilot, whose name was not released, had been out of the cockpit since the flight, it said, and was believed to have been on a training mission for a different unit.
The military confirmed that the plane was on a military training mission.
The military said it was looking into what happened and the fate of the crew, and that it would provide more details as they became available.
“As soon as we are able to establish what happened, we will work with the families of the deceased and other relevant authorities to assist them with their inquiries,” it added.
The Red Eye flight log shows that on December 2, 2000, the aircraft departed Brisbane from the Kingsway airfield.
It was heading towards a military installation at Bexleyheath.
In an online search, the search term “Red Eye flight” led to a Facebook page set up by the family of the pilot, David Ewart.
Ewart’s mother, Lisa Ewart, told ABC News she was relieved to learn that her son was alive.
“I’m really happy and relieved,” she said.
“It’s really been a long time and he was a very good boy.”
Ethel Ewart said she was heartbroken to learn of her son’s death.
She said she still had to deal with her own grief.
Red Eye plane crashes in Queensland The pilot of a Red Eye plane that disappeared from Brisbane Airport in February had made two unsuccessful attempts to land, Australian Defence Forces (ADF) sources said on Thursday.
David Ewart had flown out from Brisbane in a Red Eagle aircraft and had intended to land on a small airstrip in the far north Queensland town of Lorne, the ABC reported.
But when the aircraft crashed on the runway, it landed on the nearby Goldfields.
“He was flying the plane when he saw the engine fail, the propeller blade come off and he lost control and crashed,” a source told the ABC.
“There were two other people on board, but they were unhurt.”
Mr Ewart’s body was recovered from the field on Saturday.
The wreckage of the Red Eye jet, which was on its way to Lorne from Brisbane, was discovered after a search for the pilot began on February 19.
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