Tragedy in northern Australia as MAF plane crashes

On Thursday 16 October, 23-year-old Australian pilot Hadleigh Smith departed Elcho Island in Australia’s Arnhem Land. On board was a cargo of diesel for a number of Aborigine communities. Hadleigh never arrived at his first destination.

It is thought that the GA8 Airvan Hadleigh was piloting went down in the waters of Buckingham Bay. Daily search and rescue efforts have found debris from the wreckage in the sea, though this is minimal.

Evidence suggests that the aircraft hit the water with force, though the fuselage has not yet been found. Hadleigh did not send a ‘May Day’ call, nor has a signal from the Emergency Locator Transmitter been picked up.

Hadleigh’s whereabouts are currently unknown, though the chances of finding him alive now appear unlikely.

Hadleigh, a highly experienced pilot, joined the operation in Arnhem Land earlier this year. Rob Owen of MAF Australia says of Hadleigh: ‘He is one of many young people we have who give up opportunities in a westernised world to support and help develop indigenous communities.’

On this occasion, it appears Hadleigh has made the greatest sacrifice as a result of wanting to serve others.

Hadleigh Smith

Mission Aviation Fellowship

Castle Hill Avenue, FOLKESTONE, CT20 2TN UK, Tel: 0845 850 9505

Registered Charity Number 1064598 (England & Wales) and SC039107 (Scotland)

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