Byron man dies in plane crash

BYRON BAY builder Matthew Green is dead after a light aircraft crash in the Upper Hunter Valley.

His brother-in-law, Scott Kennedy-Green, 38, the pilot of the small single-engine Cessna, remains at a Sydney hospital in a stable condition with non-life threatening injuries.

 Mr Green, 32, who was also a fitness enthusiast and personal trainer, had been working with his sister Angela’s husband on a cattle property near Mudgee before the two men took off in the plane on Christmas Eve to fly 380km to a family property at Glen Innes.

Wreckage of the Cessna was found nearly 24 hours later on Christmas Day in a ravine of the Great Dividing Range north-east of Mudgee near Merriwa.

The pilot, a prominent Sydney auctioneer with high-profile real estate company McGrath, had been able to radio for help although incorrect co-ordinates were given when rescuers first began the search for the missing plane.

It is not known how long Mr Green had lived in the Byron region.

Mr Green’s sister Angela was yesterday reported describing Matthew as a fit, fun-loving man with a passion for the outdoors.

He had been living at Byron Bay while building a house for her best friend.

The family was shattered by the death, but there was also relief at the miraculous survival of Mr Kennedy-Green, an experienced pilot.

The upturned plane was located at 10am on December 25.

Police confirmed the body of Mr Green was found with the wreckage. The pilot was airlifted to Westmead Hospital.

A hospital spokeswoman said the survivor suffered hip and shoulder injuries, and minor head injuries.
“He’s very, very lucky,” the spokeswoman said.

She said his family “were all a bit shattered” when they first arrived at the hospital.

Initial reports that the plane’s pilot and passenger may have both survived a crash filtered through at 4.30pm on Christmas Eve when police said a truck driver received a distress call from the pilot of a light plane on his UHF radio.

However, it was not until Christmas Day the crew of a NRMA Care Flight helicopter spotted the upturned Cessna.

“Poor weather including low cloud and rain, which may have been a factor in the aircraft going missing, made it unsafe for NRMA Care Flight to conduct a low-level search overnight,” an NRMA spokesman said.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau will investigate the crash and police will prepare a report for the NSW coroner.

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