Sea­plane crash site cleared

Western Suburbs Weekly - - News - By JULIAN WRIGHT and JON BAS­SETT

A RE­STRIC­TION zone of 200m around the Swan River crash site of a sea­plane at the Aus­tralia Day Skyshow was re­moved at 9.30am yes­ter­day.

“I can ad­vise that the ex­clu­sion zone has been lifted and all wreck­age has been re­cov­ered,” a De­part­ment of Trans­port spokes­woman said.

Wreck­age of the Grum­man Mal­lard is be­ing stored and ex­am­ined at the Swan River Trust’s river­side com­pound in Vic­to­ria Park, fol­low­ing divers’ searches over the shal­low and muddy riverbed.

An Aus­tralian Trans­port Safety Bureau (ATSB) spokesman said the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the crash would take “sev­eral months to a year”.

The ac­ci­dent killed pi­lot Peter Lynch (52) and his girl­friend En­dah Cakrawati (30) just af­ter 5pm on the na­tional hol­i­day.

"A li­censed air­craft main­te­nance en­gi­neer (LAME) and a hu­man fac­tors spe­cial­ist have ar­rived from Can­berra to join the ATSB team in Perth," an ATSB spokesman said.

“Over the next few days (the in­ves­ti­ga­tors) will ex­am­ine the ac­ci­dent site, in­ter­view wit­nesses, and col­lect main­te­nance and pi­lot records, and air traf­fic con­trol recorded data.”

Mr Lynch was a de­voted pi­lot and sup­porter of avi­a­tion, but he was con­cerned about hot weather’s po­ten­tial im­pact on the flight when the 1948-built Mal­lard took off from a Ser­pen­tine air­field.

At the Skyshow, the Mal­lard ap­peared to stall be­fore nose­div­ing into shal­low wa­ter be­tween South Perth and Heiris­son Is­land.

In a 2013 in­ter­view with Down Un­der Avi­a­tion, Mr Lynch de­scribed fly­ing as a boy­hood ambition.

“For me fly­ing was about ful­fill­ing a life­long ambition, be­ing able to get around a big coun­try much quicker and hav­ing fun,” he said

Af­ter own­ing other air­craft, in­clud­ing a twin-en­gine Co­manche, he wanted the wa­ter-land­ing and take-off Grum­man G-73 Mal­lard.

The 12-seater could cope with all his busi­ness and per­sonal fly­ing, in­clud­ing the pas­time’s so­cial side and air­field fly-ins.

He said the Mal­lard, on which he had trained for many hours in Florida af­ter pur­chase, was “a true air­borne cam­per­van” that en­abled peo­ple to walk around its cabin.

Crash wit­nesses should call the ATSB on 1800 020 616 or email ATSBinfo@atsb.gov.au.

Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie www.com­mu­ni­typix.com.au d464706

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