Five light plane crashes in our region in three years
LOOKING back at a timeline of light plane crashes over the last few years on the Northern Rivers:
December 18, 2008: 20-year-old Lismore woman Joanne Ethell was giving a flying lesson to 18-year-old Chandrika Gaur in a 152 Cessna light aircraft above Sydney when the plane collided mid-air with a single-engine Liberty on approach to Bankstown Airport.
November 9, 2012: 40-year-old trainee pilot Christopher Bowles of Currumbin and a 47-year-old Air Gold Coast instructor were killed when the light aircraft they were in stalled and crashed in a paddock in South Gundurimba, about 3km south of Lismore Airport.
March 24, 2013: Experienced local pilot and instructor Wayne Fisher died in a light plane crash at Lismore Airport. An Australian Transport Safety Bureau final report found the crash was caused by an aircraft stall, brought on when the aircraft's nose pitched vertically upwards.
April 12, 2014: 11-year-old Kayla Whitten was killed when the Maule M-5 light plane she was in crashed into the Clarence River at Ewingar. An Australian Transport Safety Bureau report found that after hitting powerlines, the plane flipped and came to rest with the cabin upside down and underwater. Both the pilot, John Patrick Crumpton, and Kayla's father, 36, were sitting in the front row and escaped through a forward door but could not free Kayla from the back of the flooded cabin.
April 30, 2014: Pilot Don Matthews' two-seater Brumby ultralight crashed on Broadwater beach after losing engine power and was flipped on to its roof by a wave, trapping the pilot. Fortunately, Mr Matthews only suffered minor injuries.
October 6, 2014: Well known Ballina pilot Ian Byrne was involved in a fatal plane crash at a private airstrip at Knockrow. Recreational Aviation Australia has yet to release a report on the circumstances that led to the crash.