Former commercial pilot and wife die in Caboolture Airfield mid-air collision 

Piper Pawnee aircraft. Credit: Marsan /

Two people have lost their lives in a mid-air collision between two light aircraft at Caboolture Airfield, north of Brisbane, Australia.  

The fatal collision occurred on July 28, 2023, at around 10:30 a.m. local time, involving privately owned aircraft: Jabiru J430 and Piper PA-25 Pawnee.  

The Caboolture Airfield, primarily catering to general aviation and ultralight aircraft, is not controlled by Airservices Australia. The accident has already led to the temporary closure of the airfield. 

The Jabiru J430, which was taking off, was carrying a man and a woman in their 60s, both of whom were fatally injured.  

Former commercial pilot David Maddern and his wife Jan Maddern, identified as the victims of the incident, were pronounced dead at the scene, according to the Queensland Ambulance Service. Matthew Davis, Queensland Ambulance Service’s senior operations supervisor, described the scene as “incredibly confronting”. 

However, the Piper Pawnee was landing on a crossing runway, and its pilot miraculously survived without serious injuries. 

The Caboolture Aero Club has released a statement expressing deep sorrow and extending condolences to the bereaved family. 

“We understand that investigations by relevant authorities have commenced, and we will cooperate with all relevant investigations,” the statement read. 

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) has now launched an investigation to determine the circumstances surrounding this accident. 

Authorities are urging anyone to come forward who may have witnessed the incident, or who may possess any relevant footage of the aircraft at any point during their flights.  

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