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NSW: Family in mourning after light plane crash claims four

08 Nov 2008 6:28 PM
By Vincent Morello, Greg Roberts and Belinda Cranston

SYDNEY, Nov 8 AAP - A plane carrying a Victorian police woman, her young son and two others, was trying to return to an airport runway when it crashedkilling all on board, police say.

Leading Senior Constable Erin Condon, 40, and her nine-year-old son Matthew, died when the twin-engine Piper PA-31-350 Navajo crashed shortly after takeoff from Bathurst Airport at 8.30pm (AEDT) yesterday.

Television reports named the pilot as Timothy O'Brien, 51, and the fourth person as his girlfriend Jackie, 40.

Mr O'Brien, of Beaumaris, Melbourne, is a father of three boys, and volunteer pilot for charity Angel Flight which takes sick children from the bush to city hospitals. He owns a heating and air conditioning company.

Detective Superintendent Mick Goodwin said the crash site revealed the plane had tried to return to the airport but went down 3km short of the runway.

"There were no distress calls or mayday calls," Det Supt Goodwin told AAP.

"The plane exploded when it hit the ground, which caused some fires to ignite around the crash site and they were later extinguished by the fire brigade," he said.

Ms Condon's family said she and her son were travelling to see a friend compete in a triathlon at Port Macquarie on the NSW mid-north coast.

The policewoman's cousin Damien Condon spoke on behalf of the family today.

"Erin was greatly loved by her mother and father Rex and Aileen, her sister Colleen and her brothers Sean and Calvin," Damien Condon said.

"Erin was a well respected member of the Victorian Police Force for 13 years and of course a mum to Matty.

"Matty was a beautiful young boy of nine who loved his football and loved his Lego.

"The Condon family have asked me to express their appreciation for the sympathies and support from their friends and community."

An ATSB spokesman said the plane had travelled from Moorabbin Aerodrome, east of Melbourne.

It had stopped at Bathurst to re-fuel before continuing on.

He said a preliminary report into the crash would be released within 30 days.

AAP vpmssbwl=0A