Australian Helicopters deliver survivors at including Rod, Chris and Jake Riley.
Australian Helicopters deliver survivors at including Rod, Chris and Jake Riley. KERRI-ANNE MESNER

Mayday call from pilot

SEVEN people may believe someone was watching over them after surviving a light aircraft crash at Golding Point yesterday.

The pilot and three master skydivers took a Gladstone family up for their first tandem skydive yesterday morning, but the group was in the air for only three minutes before the pilot made a mayday call.

Twink Riley rushed to the Gladstone Airport after receiving a call saying the plane carrying her husband Rod and their two sons, Chris and Jake, had crashed.

“I thought it was a joke at first,” she said.

Ms Riley said it was the boys’ first tandem skydive.

All seven on board received minor injuries in the crash, ranging from a broken nose to a dislocated finger.

Only one of the seven remained in Gladstone Hospital overnight for observation.

A resident near the airport saw the plane trying to take off about 5 o’clock Wednesday afternoon after the skydivers had boarded.

However, the take-off had not been completely reassuring when it finally occurred.

“They tried to start the engine five or six times, but it kept backfiring, and flames shot out the side once,” the resident said.

“It eventually got going and my father-in-law said, ‘There’s no way you’d get me on that plane’.”

“I said the same thing. My wife had wanted to go up when she saw the advert for the skydiving, and I said ‘There’s no way you’re going up’.”

The man said he read the news on The Observer website yesterday afternoon, and immediately thought back to what he’d witnessed on Wednesday.

“I couldn’t believe it when I saw what had happened.”

Read more ...

Skydivers survive crash

Plane crash near Gladstone Airport



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