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Two killed in Victoria plane crash

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The Age




Two people have died in a light plane crash north of Melbourne.


The wreckage of a twin-engined Aero Commander was found by a search helicopter crew in trees near the tiny town of Clonbinane, near Wandong, about 60km north of Melbourne, about 9.45pm (AEST) Tuesday, Victoria Police spokesman Wayne Wilson said.


A search was started in the Wandong-Mount Disappointment area after residents reported hearing a light plane in trouble, followed by an explosion, about 8.20pm.


There were no other people on board the flight. The identities of the victims are not yet known.


It's believed the plane came down near Drag Hill Road, between Clonbinane and Mount Disappointment.


A local police unit found the wreckage.


Ground units were joined by a police airwing helicopter and a fixed-wing aircraft in the effort to locate the plane.


It's believed the flight originated from Essendon Airport and was heading to Shepparton, 180km north-east of Melbourne.


Earlier, the weather bureau issued a severe weather warning for western and central districts of Victoria, including the crash site, for severe winds averaging 75km/h with gusts to 110km/h, especially in elevated areas.


The area is near the top of the Great Dividing Range.


Monument Hill, a short distance from the scene, rises to 480 metres above sea level.


© 2007 AAP



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Guest David C

ABC news have reported the two occupants as being a male aged in his 50's and a female aged in her 30's . Another sad day in what is becoming an all too familiar story of late . May the two deceased RIP .


Dave C



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Guest Fred Bear

Plane speared into ground


New details have emerged of the final moments of the plane which crashed last night north of Melbourne.


Safety authorities believe the plane was almost vertical when it hit the ground, spreading wreckage over 700 metres from the point of impact.


The pilot, a 34-year-old woman from North Balwyn, and a 50-year-old male passenger from Cairns, died when their twin-engine Aero Commander 500 crashed in thick scrub about 8.20pm.


The bodies of the two victims have not yet been recovered and their names have not been released.


The plane took off from Essendon airport about 8pm, bound for Shepparton, before crashing near the small town of Clonbinane, 60 kilometres north of Melbourne.


Thick scrub hampers plane recovery


Alex Hood, who is heading the Australian Transport Safety Bureau's investigation at the site, said it was too early to determine the cause of the crash.


Investigations have been hampered by thick scrub in the area, and some parts of the plane which separated from the main body have not yet been recovered.


Mr Hood said investigators were chasing the audio and radar records to help reconstruct the moments before the impact. The plane did not carry a `black box' flight recorder.


Investigations at the site would continue for some time, he said.


"We should have completed our on-site investigation probably by tomorrow or Friday by the latest."


Mr Hood said he did not yet know the age of the plane, but said it was likely to be between 20 and 30 years old.


The twin-engine plane in the accident had been sold in Australia since the late 1960s, he said, but it was no longer in production.


The cause of the crash is still not known, but last night's strong winds led to an aviation warning by the Bureau of Meteorology.


The bureau said there was a strong northerly wind in the area, gusting up to 38 knots, or 70 km/h, at the time of the crash.


"We had aviation warnings out of severe turbulence. They are pretty standard for that kind of northerly. It was a straight northerly, (it) wasn't any variation in wind direction but it was quite a gusty wind," senior forecaster Terry Ryan said.


Plane 'sounded like a motorbike'


Last night local residents in the area told police they heard a light plane in trouble minutes before they heard a loud noise they believed to be a crash.


A search of the area was launched, involving police air and ground crews and volunteers from the Country Fire Authority and State Emergency Service.


The wreckage was found by a police helicopter crew about 9.45pm.


The plane came down in heavy scrub near Drag Hill and Raynors roads, south of Clonbinane.


Charlotte Dekkers, a horse trainer who lives in Clonbinane said she heard the plane pass over her house just before the crash.


"It just sounded like a really loud motorbike. It sounded like it was flying up our driveway, that's how close it was. Then it sort of wooshed past and after that we didn't hear a crash or anything."


Police have set up a command post at the site and are conducting their own investigation into the crash.



The Aero Commander 500 crashed in thick scrub near Clonbinane, 60 kilometres north of Melbourne.



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It's a real shame, anyone from PPRuNe from a few years ago will know the Pilot who used to go under the name of JJ, a shame. Steve Nott was the owner of GAM and anyone who's seen an Aero Commander around the traps it's a good bet he had something to do with it at some stage. Very sad news.



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