Plane crashed just 300 metres away from Toll rescue helicopter crew

UNFORTUNATE INCIDENT: Police Superintendent Chris Taylor reveals the details of the crash at Orange Regional Airport. Photo: JUDE KEOGH 0516jkcrash3
UNFORTUNATE INCIDENT: Police Superintendent Chris Taylor reveals the details of the crash at Orange Regional Airport. Photo: JUDE KEOGH 0516jkcrash3

The crew of the plane that crashed at Orange Regional Airport was fortunate the incident occurred just 300 metres away from where a Toll Rescue Helicopter crew was working.

Central West police superintendent Chris Taylor said the rescue crew was quickly on the scene to assist the pilot and his instructor.

“It was fortunate at the time the staff from the Toll Rescue helicopter were at work and they were able to attend straight away to the crash because the plane had caught fire,” he said.

“The 47-year-old male [Ben Wheeler] was thrown free from the crash and he was able to help the 55-year-old flight instructor [Catherine Fitzsimons] out of the plane and then they were attended to immediately by members of the Toll Rescue helicopter.

“Nothing could be done to save the plane, it was destroyed,” he said.

He was able to help the flight instructor out of the plane.

Police Superintendent Chris Taylor

Superintendent Taylor said the pair’s survival chances were increased because they were at a low altitude when trouble struck.

He said emergency services were quickly on the scene. “It was a very unfortunate incident but in some ways they, the crew, are fortunate the response from all agencies was excellent,” he said.

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