Families of charity flight crash victims demand action

Families of charity flight crash victims demand action





© SA Police
An Angel Flight plane crashed in a paddock shortly after take-off in 2017.


A damning report has been released into the Angel Flight plane crash that claimed the life of a mother and daughter as well as their pilot at Mount Gambier in South Australia two years ago.

Investigators found the charity’s flights are less safe than other options with the victims’ families now calling for more action.

Brian and Carmel Perry returned to the crash site where they lost their daughter Tracy and 16-year-old granddaughter Emily in June 2017.

“It’s completely destroyed the family, tragedy does that, our life really ended to a big extent at that particular stage,” Mr Perry said.

The Angel Flight was taking Emily to Adelaide for treatment. Pilot Grant Gilbert was also killed when the plane crashed.

It departed Mount Gambier airport in low visibility and 70 seconds after take-off the plane slammed into the ground.

“The pilot did not have the experience nor the qualifications to fly in these conditions,” the Australian Transport Safety Bureau’s (ATSB) Greg Hood said.



a woman smiling for the camera: Emily Redding was travelling to Adelaide for treatment for anorexia.


© Supplied
Emily Redding was travelling to Adelaide for treatment for anorexia.

The deadly crash was the second involving Angel Flight.

Len Twigg lost his daughter Jacinda, and wife, Julie in 2011 when their plane crashed near Horsham, in Victoria.

“Three kids never got to say goodbye, never got to see their mum again, their sister again and it’s just totally destructive,” Len Twigg said.

ATSB investigators have revealed flights by the charity have a fatal accident rate seven times higher than other private operators.



a person posing for the camera: Tracy Redding.


© Facebook
Tracy Redding.

“There are additional pressures on these people than normal private flying,” Mr Hood said.

Each year, Angel flight links more than 1600 regional patients with pilots who volunteer their time and planes.

Investigators say two-thirds of the organisation’s flights could be conducted by commercial airlines.

“These are safer, more comfortable, more reliable and better suited to people going to and from medical appointments,” the Civil Aviation Safety Authority’s Peter Gibson said.



a man wearing glasses and smiling at the camera: Pilot Grant Gilbert was an Adelaide businessman who worked with the charity to fly patients.


© Supplied
Pilot Grant Gilbert was an Adelaide businessman who worked with the charity to fly patients.

Since the crash stricter regulations have been enforced but families want more.

“It’s got to be up to Angel Flight. The government can only do as much as they do,” Mr Perry said.

“I don’t feel it goes far enough, by a long way,” Mr Twigg said.

Angel Flight late today defended its record saying the statistics the ATSB used were incorrect.

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