Prominent US bloodstock figure John Moynihan, American investors Richard and Tammy Rigney and trainer Phil Bauer were among 10 people who have survived a light plane crash on a luxury resort island in Far North Queensland.

The group, who were believed to be set to attend the Magic Millions Yearling Sale on the Gold Coast, were on board the plane when it flipped over on Lizard Island, 240km north of Cairns, early on Monday.

“I think the people are very lucky to be alive,” the Royal Flying Doctor Service’s Stephanie Beatty told reporters.

The aircraft had reportedly left for Cairns but returned to the Great Barrier Reef holiday destination shortly after takeoff because of mechanical trouble.

Media reports said while attempting to land on the island’s airstrip, the plane clipped trees before coming to rest upside down after overshooting the runway.

Everyone on board was able to exit the plane before emergency services arrived, earning high praise for the pilot.

“I think the pilot has clearly done an incredible job,” Queensland Ambulance Services' spokesperson Brina Keating told reporters.

“To walk away from something like that is just incredible.”

The incident will be subject to a major crash investigation by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau.

Magic Millions managing director Barry Bowditch said it was an incredibly lucky escape.

“They are great friends of Magic Millions, both Richard and Tammy Rigney and John and Helena Moynihan,” he said.

“When I woke up this morning I had heard about the plane crash, but not the people in the plane. Thankfully I spoke to John this morning and all was in order and everyone is in good health and reasonable spirits

“It was a very scary time, and they were lucky to be able to walk away from what was a catastrophe.”

Moynihan, who escaped serious injury, confirmed he was one of the passengers on board, telling the US racing publication Thoroughbred Daily News via a text message: "We are okay."

The Cairns Post has since reported that the Rigney family were also on board as was Bauer and his wife.

A bloodstock agent with a huge international reputation, Moynihan is a regular visitor to Australia at sales time.

Last year, he played a key role on the Gold Coast as the Rigneys spent $3.2 million on two fillies by I Am Invincible at the Magic Millions Yearling Sale.

Those fillies, Invincible Claire and Invincible Madison, are with the Snowden stable.

Moynihan is also known for purchasing high-quality fillies and mares for Barbara Banke's Kentucky-based Stonestreet Farm.

With Moynihan continuing a long-standing association, Banke, a billionaire winemaker, made her first foray into the Australian bloodstock scene almost a decade ago when she attended the Australian Easter Yearling Sale.

“To walk away from something like that is just incredible” - Queensland Ambulance Service

Banke has also been a regular buyer at Magic Millions, the Gold Coast-based company that opened the 2024 Australian sales season on Tuesday.

Her success on the racetrack in Australia has included a Group I victory with Miracles Of Life, purchased by Moynihan at the 2014 Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale for $900,000.

Winner of the Blue Diamond Stakes as a two-year-old, Miracles Of Life raced under the Stonestreet banner during her four-year-old season, collecting wins in Melbourne and Sydney before her Group 1 victory in Adelaide - her final race before retiring to stud.

Moynihan and Banke were the underbidders on triple Group 1 winner Sunlight when she sold for $4.2 million to Tom Magnier at the 2020 Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale.