Ultralight crash leaves two dead

Emergency crews at the site of yesterday’s ultralight crash which claimed the lives of the two male occupants.
Emergency crews at the site of yesterday’s ultralight crash which claimed the lives of the two male occupants. Jay Cronan

AN ULTRALIGHT aircraft plummeted into a paddock at Tatham, south-east of Casino, yesterday killing the two men on board.

It is understood the pilot was in his mid-20s with his wife expecting to give birth in 10 days to the couple’s second child.

It is also believed the pilot may have lived in the Alstonville area and was at one time employed as a TV antenna installer.

First at the crash scene was apprentice butcher Chris Knight, 18, of Tatham.

Mr Knight was outside his home when he heard a bang in the sky toward Coraki about 3pm.

“I heard a break, like something broke,” Mr Knight said. When he looked he saw an aircraft. “It looked like the wing had broke.”

Mr Knight said the left wing appeared to have folded back on top of itself. The ultralight then spiralled to the ground.

Mr Knight drove the short distance from his home to the crash site and ‘cautiously approached’ the wreck. He saw two bodies inside the aircraft.

“I asked, ‘can anybody hear me’, but no one responded,” he said.

The cause of the accident is being investigated, but Richmond Local Area Command police duty officer Inspector Nicole Bruce said the conditions for flying were clear.

Casino Aero Club president Russell Kennedy confirmed the ultralight had departed from the Casino airstrip, where it was kept, yesterday morning bound for Lismore Airport.

The ultralight arrived safely at Lismore, where it is understood the pilot had lunch.

The crash occurred on the return trip to Casino.

Shortly before the accident an ultralight was seen performing tricks in the air above Codrington, near Tatham. However, it is not known if it was the same aircraft that crashed.

Mr Kennedy said the crashed ultralight’s pilot was a ‘private fellow.’

Recreation Aviation Australia will consult with police, who will prepare a brief for the coroner. The Australian Transport Safety Bureau will not be investigating.

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