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'We couldn't help the poor fellas': Plane crash victims named

Flying instructor Matthew Furlong was killed alongside a Hong Kong student pilot in today's light plane crash at Allenview, near Beaudesert.
Flying instructor Matthew Furlong was killed alongside a Hong Kong student pilot in today's light plane crash at Allenview, near Beaudesert.

HIS flying school's motto was "amor vitae volans", which is Latin for "love life fly".

But Brisbane flying instructor Matthew Furlong and a student pilot from Hong Kong tragically lost their lives in a plane crash between the capital and the Gold Coast on Tuesday.

Mr Furlong, 31, and his trainee, 25, are believed to have died instantly when their light plane spiralled into a turf farm at Allenview, near Beaudesert.

The Diamond DA40 Star had taken off from Archerfield Airport at 9am but smashed into a turf paddock about 40 minutes into what was to have been a 90-minute training flight, breaking apart on impact and sending debris flying.

Two female turf farm workers raised the alarm after the aircraft nosedived into the grass about 400m from where they were spotting weeds.

Witness Peter McKenna, who owns a horse agistment property next to the turf farm, said he was on the phone "at exactly 9.43am" when he saw the plane in an "out-of-control spiral" moments before it slammed into the paddock.

"It was a terrible thing to see," he said.

"I unfortunately watched as this plane went into a spiral and crashed into the ground and broke apart. It was fairly obvious there wasn't going to be any survivors."

Mr McKenna said he raced down to the crash scene about a kilometre from his property and turf farm workers were already rushing in with a fire extinguisher.

"I didn't want to go down and see any bodies … the two guys on the plane had no chance, unfortunately," he said.

Turf farm manager Darryl Pearce said one of his workers who was in the paddock heard a "thump" and turned around to see the crashed plane.

"They weren't far away (from the crash) and alerted us quickly, and we all got down there," he said.

"We did what we could but we couldn't help the poor fellas."

Mr Pearce said it was a popular aircraft training area and he had once seen a plane crash into another turf farm at nearby Jimboomba, but without any casualties.

Mr Furlong was an instructor with the Flylink Aviation College, which specialised in training Chinese student pilots. College representatives arrived at the scene but declined to comment to media.

Police had to track down Mr Furlong's devastated partner and were still trying to make contact with the student pilot's family in Hong Kong.

It is believed he had been living in Brisbane since July, training to gain his pilot's licence.

A team of Australian Transport Safety Bureau investigators arrived at the crash scene on Tuesday afternoon.

Topics:  crash editors picks gold coast light matthew furlong plane

News Corp Australia


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