A pair of pilots managed to walk away relatively unscathed after their Boeing 737 tanker crashed in Australia. The pilots were using the modified 737 to battle wildfires in Fitzgerald River National Park in Western Australia on Monday (February 6) when their plane went down.
According to Simple Flying, the aircraft descended to about 700 feet and discharged firefighting chemicals over the area. As the pilots began to leave, they topped out at an altitude of 1,875 feet before rapidly descending.
Miraculously, they suffered only minor injuries in the crash and were able to remove themselves from the burning aircraft.
"Thankfully, the crew were able to self-extract from the aircraft and were essentially uninjured," Australian Transport Safety Bureau Chief Commissioner Angus Mitchell said.
The two pilots were extracted by a helicopter and taken to the hospital. They were released on Tuesday.
"It's nothing short of miraculous that they were able to walk away from that plane," Emergency Services Minister Stephen Dawson said.
Investigators are trying to determine what caused the crash, but their efforts have been hampered by the wildfires in the area. They are not expected to reach the site until Wednesday.
"As you can imagine, we expect the site to present its challenges to our investigators," the ATSB said. "It is remote, an active fire ground, the aircraft is at least partially burnt, and aircraft wreckage can involve hazardous materials, so our investigators will take a cautious and measured approached to their onsite activities."
Before the Boeing 737 was modified to fight fires, it was used as a passenger jet in the United States.