Friday 22 September 2017

'There was fuel leaking everywhere' - Dad describes horror of cutting son out of crashed plane

Plane crash left Irish woman fighting for her life

Jesse Lonnon (13) sustained injuries in the crash
Jesse Lonnon (13) sustained injuries in the crash
Emergency services at the scene of the plane crash in Queensland in which an Irishwoman was seriously injured. Photos: LifeFlight
The scene of the plane crash in Queensland in which an Irishwoman was seriously injured.
Denise Calnan

Denise Calnan

A man has spoken of his horror as he watched a small plane carrying his teenage son plummet into sand dunes.

Jesse Lonnon (13) sustained non life-threatening injuries in the crash in Queensland, Australia which left an Irish woman fighting for her life.

His dad, Jason, has described how he climbed into the plane wreck to try and cut his son out of his seatbelt.

The private plane, which was carrying four passengers, crashed near Agnes Waters in Queensland on Tuesday killing a young British woman.

The crash, which occurred just before 11am local time, took place during an excursion to the remote Middle Island.

The Irish woman (21) on the plane sustained a head injury. A spokesperson for Queensland Police Service told Independent.ie the woman has been transferred to a specialist unit in Brisbane to treat her injuries. The woman's condition is still listed as 'critical'.

Pilot Les Woodall suffered extensive injuries.
Pilot Les Woodall suffered extensive injuries.

Dad Jason Lonnon was travelling in the aircraft behind his son when he saw the plane started to turn down.

"We thought they were getting ready to land but they disappeared out of sight behind the sand dune and within a few seconds later we saw the plane wreck on the ground," he told the Brisbane Times.

The scene of the plane crash in Queensland in which an Irishwoman was seriously injured.
The scene of the plane crash in Queensland in which an Irishwoman was seriously injured.

"It is hard to describe how I felt at the time knowing my son was down in there in that mess.

"I managed to get the door off the plane and we started pulling people onto the beach there was fuel leaking everywhere," he continued.

"He was still trapped in his seat, I had to climb into the wreck and cut the seatbelt away."

Authorities in Queensland are now investigating engine failure as the likely cause of the light plane crash.

"Police are now preparing a report on the deceased for the coroner and the aviation authority's investigation is underway," the spokesperson told Independent.ie.

"Preliminary information is suggesting something along the lines of engine failure but there has not been any confirmation."

Meanwhile, RACQ Capricorn Rescue Helicopter crewman Dave Patterson said he is amazed anyone survived the incident.

“The aircraft, once it hit the beach, rolled up and destroyed a lot of the cabin area so the fact there were survivors was incredible,” he told the Gladstone Observer.

It is understood it took police some time to reach the scene because of the remoteness of the location. LifeFlight, a rapid response rescue crew, attended the scene of the crash. It said the victims were tourists planning to stay on the island.

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