Yesterday at around 5pm in Western Australia, a light plane crashed into the Swan River in front of hundreds of Australia Day revellers.
We are sad to report that both the pilot and one passenger passed away in the tragic incident.
The Grumman G-73 Mallard flying boat was said to be exhibiting unstable behaviour in the sky, with multiple videos being uploaded to social media immediately after the crash as revellers had filmed the plane flying erratically.
The plane nose-dived into the water, and one witness told media,
“I was watching the show and all I saw was the plane just nose dive into the water,” Natasha Eyles said. “As it hit the water you could [see] the plane break into two.”
— Jorden Teo (@JordenTeo) January 26, 2017
— Meaghan Hill (@mimi1596) January 26, 2017
One witness says the crowd watched the plane stall while it was mid-air:
“We were so stunned and shocked.
We could see him stall. His wings were pointing to the sky and to the water and we thought ‘this is not good’ then we saw it break into two pieces.”
And another witness said the plane therefore lost momentum due to stalling:
“As he banked left he seemed to go further to the left … and lose forward momentum and lost altitude fairly quickly.”
Witnesses say although it took a response team only a short amount of time to reach the crash site, the first people there were civilians who rushed to the plane in an attempt to extract the two passengers from the wreckage.
The city council cancelled the annual fireworks display – known to be the biggest in the country – shortly after the incident.
Acting Police Commissioner Stephen Brown asked revellers who had gathered in the area to watch the fireworks to head home:
“For the dignity of the people who lost their lives and in respect of these families we have cancelled the event.
I’m quite sure that West Australians will appreciate that.”
URGENT MESSAGE pic.twitter.com/pmvbk12wkq
— Lisa-M Scaffidi (@LisaScafPerthLM) January 26, 2017
Heartbreaking. Our thoughts are with the families of those who passed in this tragic accident.
Photo: Michael Legg.