Talk about carrying more than your fair share of a load. This special helicopter mission did not involve winching anyone to safety, but rather coming to the rescue of a stricken plane. The chopper, believed to be an AS350 Squirrel, winched the GippsAero G8 Airvan from the waters of the Abrolhos Islands on Tuesday morning five days after the aircraft crashed. It overshot the runway on Big Rat Island, 60km west of Geraldton, with all seven people on board luckily escaping uninjured. The plane may look bigger, but weighing in at just over a tonne, it actually weighs less than the Squirrel, which comes in at around at least 1.2 tonnes. The eight-seater plane, belonging to Shine Aviation, was taken back to Geraldton where it will undoubtedly be examined as part of an Australian Transport Safety Bureau investigation and an internal company investigation. Shine Aviation owner and managing director John Gooch said earlier on Tuesday he was confident the “technical” recovery process would go well after working with engineers to navigate the retrieval. The crash happened last Thursday about 8.40am and involved seven people on board, including two children aged 12 and 15. The pilot and six passengers were taken to the local nursing post as a precaution. The recovery of the wreckage was delayed by the Easter break, meaning it was forced to spend five days partially submerged in the ocean at the southern end of the runway. The stranded plane did not prevent any other air traffic from taking off or landing, Mr Gooch said. ATSB chief commissioner Angus Mitchell said the investigation into the “runway excursion” had already started. As part of the probe into why the plane “landed long”, investigators will collect and examine evidence, including interviewing the pilot, analysing relevant weather data, photographs, aircraft operator procedures and maintenance records. The investigation is expected to take six to nine months but is subject to change.