Pilots miraculously walk away unharmed after Boeing 737 crash in Western Australia

A Coulson 737 Fireliner in action (Coulson Aviation (USA) Inc)
A Coulson 737 Fireliner in action (Coulson Aviation (USA) Inc)

A flight crew has walked away with only minor injuries after a Boeing 737 crashed in Australia on Monday, with one aviation analyst calling it “simply amazing”.

The emergency services aircraft had been tackling wildfires in Fitzgerald River National Park, outside Perth, when it was downed in the area.

Flight N619SW, operated by aerial firefighting company Coulson Aviation, had taken off from Busselton Airport at 3.32pm local time, with the crash occuring less than an hour later, at around 4.15pm.

The reason for the crash is unclear at present.

In a statement, Coulson Aviation said both pilots had “walked away from the accident” before being medically assessed. There were no other crew members onboard.

Group CEO Wayne Coulson wrote: “One of our 737 FireLiners, Tanker 139, operating in Western Australia, was involved in an accident while tasked to a fire on Monday, 6 February 2023.

“The aircraft had two on board at the time of the accident.

“Both pilots walked away from the accident, and have been medically assessed. Our thoughts and our immediate concern is for those team members and their families.

“We are very grateful the two team members on Tanker 139 are safe.

“We are offering all the support we can to our local and international crews. We’re also grateful for the support being provided by our firefighting and aviation industry colleagues in Western Australia.”

A statement from Western Australia Police added: “The two pilots on-board were retrieved from the crash site by helicopter and airlifted to Ravensthorpe Health Service.”

According to Flightradar24 data, the plane had climbed to 29,000 feet after take-off, descending to about 700ft as usual in order to douse the bushfires before it got into trouble.

Aviation consultant and former pilot Keith Tonkin told Australia’s ABC News that the outcome for the pilots was “simply amazing”.

“The fact that two pilots walked away from the accident is simply amazing, considering all of those circumstances,” said Tonkin.

Australia’s Department of Fire and Emergency Services and the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) will both conduct separate investigations into the crash.

The Independent has contacted Coulson Aviation for further comment.