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The Age report:

Cape York crash victims named

By Mark Todd and Natasha Wallace
May 9, 2005
The wreckage near Lockhart River on Cape York Peninsula.The wreckage near Lockhart River on Cape York Peninsula.
Photo: Supplied

There was the renowned scientist just days away from retirement, the young policewoman about to get married and the mother of six trying to make a new life for herself.

Then there were the three footy mates headed to a carpentry course, the man on his way to celebrate his wedding anniversary and the two young pilots who lived just to fly.

The tragedy was scattered much further than the wreckage of the 19-seater Fairchild Metroliner, the aircraft that slammed into a 500-metre hillside and burst into flames in rainforest in far north Queensland on Saturday. Fifteen people died – Australia’s worst air disaster in more than 40 years.

Those on board were travelling from the tiny township of Bamaga, almost as far north as it is possible to go on Queensland’s Cape York, on their way to Lockhart River and Cairns.

Some locals say they had held fears about the Metroliner’s safety before the crash – that it had previously failed to start and left them stranded – but the Civil Aviation Safety Authority said it had no cause to doubt the reliability of the 12-year-old plane or the aircraft’s owner, Trans Air. CASA audited the carrier in March and reissued its air operator’s certificate in April.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau also rejected any similarity between the north Queensland crash and the loss of another Metroliner in New Zealand last week.

In Cairns yesterday, Shane Urquhart remembered his daughter, Sally, 28, a Queensland policewoman who was en route to Townsville for a training course. Constable Urquhart, described as a “pioneer” for her work in remote communities, was engaged to a fellow police officer and due to be married soon.

“Sally touched the hearts of everyone with whom she came in contact, from her childhood to the present in the many parts of Queensland in which we have lived,” Mr Urquhart said.

David Banks, 55, was heading home to Canberra after a stint in Cape York when the plane crashed on approach to Lockhart River. A scientist respected internationally for his work in quarantine and pest management, Dr Banks was preparing for retirement.

John Wilson, a colleague of Dr Banks at Biosecurity Australia, remembered him as a legend in his field but an “unsung hero” when it came to wider recognition. “Australia has lost a great quarantine advocate, our work has lost an inspiration and I’ve lost a friend,” Mr Wilson said.

Helena Woosup, 25, of Bamaga, a mother of five boys and a girl, was travelling to Cairns to sit one of her last exams for a diploma in recreational studies. Aunt Sandra Woosup said her niece lived for her children and was “a beautiful person” who was always doing volunteer work in the community. “She was always smiling.”

Policewoman Sally UrquhartPolicewoman Sally Urquhart

Three friends – Fred Bowie, 25, Gordan Kris, 37, and Frank Billy, 21, all from the nearby community of Injinoo, were due in Cairns for a TAFE carpentry course. The Bowie family lost another relative in the crash, Mardie, 30. A married mother of two, she was travelling with her cousin. Mr Kris’ sister, Kawi, said the three were teammates in the Injinoo Crocs football team.

Also killed was Captain Paul Norris, 34, a pilot with Aero-Tropics, the regional airline that operates the Bamaga-Cairns service. He was going to Cairns for the weekend to celebrate his wedding anniversary. His wife was in the company’s office when word came through that the wreckage had been found.

Trans Air’s pilots for the flight, Brett Hotchkins, 40, and Tim Downs, 21, also died. They loved their jobs, said the managing director of Aero-Tropics, Hannes Lippmann.

The other victims were: Rob Brady, 36, of Cairns, a bus driver; Arden Sonter, 44, a BP employee; and Kenneth Hurst, 55, of Brisbane, a businessman. Two other men, aged 35 and 46, died but their families requested that their names not be made public.


The following is interesting for it’s direction in pointing the Senate [from pprune]:

Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Go west young man
Posts: 793
‘Beyond Reason’ and the FF blackhole!

Oleo said:

I won’t post it all here but in the Lockhart Final report the following sections are worth ones reading, then compare those regulatory findings to Pel Air and see if CASA has even remotely improved.

Besides the obvious comparison between the old pre-Beaker days when the bureau metaphorically kicked arse and held no prisoners, that is a very good question Oleo. Given the aviation safety watchdog has effectively been muzzled since Lockhart and with all the shenanigans revealed thus far in this inquiry I’d say that if anything CAsA has gotten worse are more out of control and a ‘law unto themselves’.

To add to Oleo’s quoted sections of the Lockhart Final Report it is also worth taking a look at  from the following link:
It is also worth looking at this FOI released document that shows more than anything the ‘ad hoc’ approach to surveillance of Transair that CAsA took at the time. What is also amazing is the amount of changes/additions to the Transair AOC that appear to be seamlessly rubber stamped:

Note: The Flight Ops section of form 069 that dealt with the port and route check approval for Lockhart River is mysteriously missing…go figure??All of which when put alongside the Pel-Air SAR, the Pel-Air FRMS SAR and even the infamous ‘Chambers Report’ would all seem to indicate that not much has changed within bowels of FF and in comparison to the Lockhart stain.

However Oleo I think the bigger ugliness that the Pel-Air inquiry is unearthing is the complete double standards, inconsistency, apparent shonky backroom deals, etc..etc that FF applies to individual operators and pilots. The examples of this in recent years are plentiful…Hempel, Airtex, Hardy’s, JQ, etc.

However probably the perfect place to do a comparison is with the currently active Barrier permanent suspension case and also the Skymaster (Canleyvale) case, which (if you remember) included a BK FF ‘Special Audit’….hmm sure would be interesting to get a copy of that SAR??

Both of these cases deal with FF regional offices that have particularly checkered histories and seem to be where FF hide their miscreants and odd bods with sociopathic tendencies (i.e. potential GWM recruits)….hmm perfect really for our purposes!

Doing a Kelpie….wondering where I can get a copy of that SAR???