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Daughter of fatal glider crash victim releases statement

Jenny Thompson with husband Jeremy, who died in yesterday's glider crash at Bowenville.
Jenny Thompson with husband Jeremy, who died in yesterday's glider crash at Bowenville.

UPDATE 1.20PM: The daughter of glider pilot Jeremy Thompson killed in a tragic accident on Monday has paid tribute to her "quiet and humble" father.

In a statement, Sarah Thompson - the president of the Darling Downs Soaring Club - said her father could be surprised at the outpouring of grief that has swept the aviation community.

"We offer our deepest sympathies to the family of the student pilot who was killed in the crash," the statement read.

"Jeremy was a big part of our life and life at the Darling Downs Soaring Club.

"Jeremy started flying at the age of 12. Flying was his lifelong love and passion and also how he met his wife of 35 years (Jenny, also a pilot at the club).

"Jenny and Jeremy have two daughters (myself and my sister) and I am also a glider pilot - he was proud to send me on my first solo flight.

"My sister Elizabeth was not involved in gliding but also loved Jeremy dearly.

"One of the things he enjoyed most about flying was teaching students, and recently he became involved in instructing Air Force cadets in Warwick.

"This year Jeremy received the most senior instructor rating available to glider pilots.

"My parents (Jenny and Jeremy) have been great mentors, friends, and instructors, to many students over the years and have put so much time and love into the sport of gliding and into the club. 

"We would like to thank the gliding community for all their thoughts and messages received from all over the world.

"Jeremy was a quiet and humble man and he would be surprised at the outpouring of grief."

EARLIER: A GLIDER crash that claimed the lives of two people yesterday has sent shockwaves through the flying community.

The pilot killed in the crash west of Toowoomba was identified as experienced competitive pilot Jeremy Thompson, 62, from Windwill near Gatton.

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Mr Thompson, who is listed as a chief flying instructor at the Darling Downs Soaring Club, had been instructing Airlie Beach man Norbert Gross, 60, in his third lesson at the club's base in Bowenville and had taken off shortly before 10am.

In a tragic turn of events, Mr Thompson's wife Jenny had been piloting the tow plane needed to lift the ASK21 glider into the air before it appeared to nosedive.

Darling Downs Inspector Stephen Angus said Mrs Thompson, also a competitive pilot, had landed her plane about 10 minutes after take-off, and watched on as the glider approached the landing field.

"When it was 15 metres from the ground (it has) subsequently crashed into a nearby cultivated paddock," Insp. Angus said.

Picture of the air crash that claimed the lives of two people at the Darling Downs Soaring Club on Tuesday morning.
Picture of the air crash that claimed the lives of two people at the Darling Downs Soaring Club on Tuesday morning. Joseph Barclay

Another student pilot was the first on scene and attempted CPR on Mr Thompson and his student but they were unable to be revived.

One member of the Darling Downs Soaring Club, who preferred not to be named, spoke of the utter devastation within the community in the wake of the tragic losses.

"It's a very experienced pilot and we are all absolutely shocked because it is one of those things that you can't control," she said.

"It is so devastating for the club because it is unexpected in the circumstances.

"It is very difficult, we are all trying to support each other and see what we can do."

It is the first crash in the club's 40-year history and police will seize the glider as part of investigations into how the fatal crash occurred.

Preliminary inquiries have ruled out a collision with power lines.

EXPERIENCED FLYER: Jenny Thompson, whose husband Jeremy was killed Tuesday was also a competitive pilot.
EXPERIENCED FLYER: Jenny Thompson, whose husband Jeremy was killed Tuesday was also a competitive pilot. Contributed

The investigation is expected to take a number of weeks as the Forensic Crash Unit liaises with aviation authorities including the Gliding Federation of Australia and the Australian Transport Safety Bureau.

While the families begin to mourn, Toowoomba Mayor Paul Antonio emphasised the need for the city to rally around those impacted by the tragedy, some of our own.

"Typically the Toowoomba region (they) do their best to help their own," he said.

"Naturally the community will be saddened by this event, our thoughts and prayers go out to them."

Condamine MP Pat Weir was shocked to hear of the losses in Bowenville, which falls under his electorate.

Mr Weir was confident that the community spirit on the Darling Downs would shine through.

"Any fatality in a small community like that is felt," he said.

"They (the community) will be there and we will do anything we can to support (the families).

"That's the way rural communities are."

Topics:  crash dalby editors picks fatal glider news toowoomba



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