Gympie Fire and Rescue personnel cover the body of a dead pilot who crashed his replica Spitfire into a paddock off Lagoon Pocket Road yesterday.
Gympie Fire and Rescue personnel cover the body of a dead pilot who crashed his replica Spitfire into a paddock off Lagoon Pocket Road yesterday. Craig Warhurst

Pilot dies in paddock crash

THE sound of an engine, nothing, then a loud bang is all that alerted Lagoon Pocket Road residents of a plane crash in a near-by paddock about 4pm yesterday.

What they didn’t know was that a pilot, 61, had died just after take off from the Gympie airport at Kybong.

The man was already dead when local ambulance crews arrived.

It is believed the pilot was heading to the Watt’s Bridge Memorial Airfield.

A local flight instructor, who didn’t want to be named, said she saw the spitfire replica take off, turn around and crash.

“It’s very distressing for everybody here, as it appeared the pilot didn’t do anything wrong, it’s still unknown what could have caused the crash,” the instructor said.

The conditions were perfect for a flight yesterday; sunny, with a slight breeze.

Narelle and Jeff Webber, whose property backs onto the crash scene just across the river from the Gympie airport, said they heard the sound of impact and called triple-0.

“I had just made a cup of coffee, sat down and heard what sounded like a soft thud,” Mrs Webber said.

The plane didn’t catch fire on impact but the three-quarter replica’s nose was extensively damaged.

Gympie firefighters were on scene spraying foam to ensure the load of fuel the plane spilt didn’t ignite and neighbours herded cattle on the property to assist.

It was believed the airplane was registered to a local man and arrived at the airfield on the back of a truck this week.

The single-seat plane lay in pieces in the paddock while forensic police officers and civil aviation authorities tried to figure out what caused the crash last night.

Gympie Times


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