Pilot and passenger who died in light plane crash identified as Essential Energy contractors

Hannah Sparks 14 April 2021
ATSB investigators at crash site

Australian Transport Safety Bureau investigators walk through the accident site. Photo: ATSB.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) is calling on witnesses who saw the light plane crash that killed the pilot and passenger near the ACT border yesterday (13 April).

In a media statement, the ATSB said anyone who saw the aircraft in flight or anyone who has footage should make contact through its witness hotline on 1800 992 986.

NSW Police confirmed this morning (14 April) that the pilot and passenger were Essential Energy contractors.

Superintendent Paul Condon of the Hume Police District said the pair were carrying out aerial assessments of high voltage lines before the crash.

The 31-year-old male pilot from country Victoria and an 18-year-old male passenger from Albury were employed by a family business located near Albury which was contracted to Essential Energy.

The pair left Canberra Airport in a Cessna 172 plane at 1:30 pm and were due to return before dark.

The plane crashed at about 4:30 pm in a rural paddock on Tallagandra Lane in Sutton. Both men died on impact, Superintendent Condon said.

Plane wreckage

ATSB is calling on crash witnesses to come forward. Photo: ATSB.

Superintendent Condon said the pilot did not issue a distress signal before the crash and police remain unsure about what caused the accident.

Police do not believe the plane hit power lines.

Several local people told police they saw the plane seconds before it crashed and they are assisting police with their investigation.

The ATSB is also investigating the cause of the crash and has taken over the crime scene.

Firefighters attended the site, but there was no fire as a result of the crash.

The bodies have been removed although the wreckage will remain until the ATSB concludes its investigation.

Superintendent Paul CondonSuperintendent Paul Condon said the pilot did not release a distress signal before the crash. Photo: Hannah Sparks.

“NSW Police have finished with their crime scene investigations; ATSB will hold that site for as long as it takes to make those necessary inquiries,” Superintendent Condon said.

He said the men’s families and employer had been notified of the men’s deaths.

Superintendent Condon described the scene as “horrific” and said it had been a shock to the families to lose family members so suddenly.

He said a report will be prepared for the coroner, including forensic evidence, photos of the scene, witness statements, information from the aircraft owner and aircraft maintenance reports.

The families are yet to release the men’s names.


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