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Hong Kong aviation

Hong Kong trainee pilot and Australian instructor killed as plane crashes near Brisbane

Single-engine aircraft goes down in field amid Mayday call

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 26 September, 2017, 5:04pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 26 September, 2017, 10:33pm

A Hong Kong trainee pilot and his Australian instructor were killed on Tuesday in a plane crash near Brisbane.

Jeffrey Li was flying a single-engine plane, identified as a Diamond DA-40, when the accident took place at about 9.45am local time (about 7.45am Hong Kong time) on Tuesday. Instructor Matthew Furlong, 31, was on board with Li, according to local media reports.

Paramedics certified the pair dead. No one else was injured or involved in the crash.

Local media reported that their training plane had taken off from Archerfield Airport – some 11km from downtown Brisbane – at about 9am local time but smashed into a turf farm south of Brisbane about 45 minutes into what was to have been a 90-minute training flight.

The plane was reportedly in the middle of making a mayday call.

Pictures from the scene published by local media showed the broken plane lying on a large piece of grassland, with emergency vehicles and a tractor parked nearby.

The aircraft’s tail and cockpit were severely damaged.

Witnesses described the plane as spiralling “out of control” before it slammed into the farm, local media reported. Farmers said the area was a popular aircraft training area.

Weather in the area appeared to be fine at the time of the crash. Australian Transport Safety Bureau officers were investigating its cause.

It was reported Li had been living in Brisbane since July and training at Flylink Aviation College to obtain his pilot licence. A message posted on August 22 on the college’s Facebook page congratulated Li on his first solo flight.

In Hong Kong, an Immigration Department spokesman said it had received a call for assistance and that it was following it up through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Chinese consulate in Brisbane. A duty officer at the consulate said it was aware of the accident and would be offering help.

The incident is the second fatal plane crash involving a training flight for a Hong Kong pilot in Australia in the past two months.

Early last month a 19-year-old Hong Kong trainee pilot, Nicholas Cheung, was killed after his ultralight Bristell two-seater plane crashed near Melbourne. Cheung was said to have suffered facial, chest and spinal injuries.

His instructor was critically injured in the accident.

Cheung was undergoing training for a pilot certificate at the time. He completed his maiden solo flight in July.

Additional reporting by Danny Mok