Tiger Moth operator suspends flights pending footage

In Australian Domestic Tourism, National Headlines, Queensland, Transport

From abc.net.au 19th December 2013

A video camera has been recovered by water police from the site of a light plane crash off the south-east Queensland coast.

The 26-year-old pilot, Alex “Jimmy” Rae, and French tourist Taissia Umenc died when the Tiger Moth crashed into waters off South Stradbroke Island during a joy flight on Monday.

Senior Sergeant Lucas Young says the camera could be crucial in determining what happened moments before the plane plunged into the water.

“They’ve had a win – they’ve located one of the GoPros from the plane, so that will be brought back and then we’ll do some scientific examination on it,” he said.

“There were a couple of different GoPros mounted to it at different places.

“We were very keen to recover that – [so it’s] very good news.

“It gives you visual of what was happening at the time.”

Sergeant Young says divers are slowly bring ports of the wreckage back to shore, but it is a long process.

“What we’ve got on the bottom is all evidence, so we want to disturb it as little as possible,” he said.

The bodies were found on Tuesday morning and Mr Rae’s family have asked the media to respect their privacy.

Tiger Moth company suspends all flights

Tiger Moth Joy Rides, the company that owned the plane, released a statement saying they were “deeply saddened” by the crash and have voluntarily stopped all flights.

“The Australian Transport Safety Bureau and Queensland Police are investigating and we are assisting with their investigations in order to determine the cause of this terrible tragedy,” the statement read.

“Until further notice we have voluntarily suspended our operations.

“We would like to thank everyone for their support during this difficult time.”

The statement also expressed condolences to the family of Ms Umenc and spoke highly of Mr Rae, releasing a picture of him with one of the company’s planes.

“Our hearts go out to the family of the international visitor who has tragically lost her life,” it said.

“As a small tight knit company we are devastated by the loss of Jimmy Rae, who was an experienced pilot with a passion for flying.

“Jimmy was an outstanding person who connected extremely well with his passengers and the rest of the team.”

Air safety experts from Canberra are heading the investigation.

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