Crash report out soon

The wreckage of last December’s plane crash. d411866
The wreckage of last December’s plane crash. d411866

Pilot Tony White and his passenger Ralph Lerch both escaped the wreckage but were left with severe burns after they crash-landed a homemade Glasair III aircraft on an oval on the afternoon of December 9.

The ATSB, which has been investigating the incident since it occurred, said it would release a draft report in September before a final report is released two months later.

Information released on its website reveals the ATSB believes the aircraft’s engine failed soon after take-off from Jandakot airport, forcing the pilot to try to land on an oval adjacent to the South Lake Leisure Centre and Lakeland Senior High School.

‘Shortly after take-off, the pilot broadcast on the Jandakot tower radio frequency that ‘we have an engine failure’. There were no further transmissions from the aircraft,’ it says.

‘The aircraft structure, which is constructed primarily of fibreglass, resin and carbon fibre, was almost completely burnt out.

‘The aircraft’s instruments and controls were almost completely destroyed by fire.’

A number of witnesses, including South Lake resident John Delaney ” a former emergency department nurse ” and former volunteer firefighter Nigel Lifford were on the scene just moments after the crash to lend assistance.

They told the Gazette earlier this year that despite their vast experience, the incident was one of the worst things they had been involved in.

Mr Lifford said he called on every bit of his nine years of experience as a volunteer firefighter to stay calm and help where needed.

‘When I got to John with Ralph, I was in shock and awe that Ralph was still conscious,’ he said.

‘The skin was just actually hanging off. He was just in a pair of shorts, the rest of it was just burnt off.’