Mal Watts and Samantha Nuttall were reported missing to police after failing to return from a flight about 4.30pm Perth time on Wednesday
A popular tourist town is mourning two prominent business owners who died in a light plane crash.
Mal Watts and Samantha Nuttall were reported missing to police after failing to return from a flight about 4.30pm on Wednesday.
Following a desperate search for the couple, the flight wreckage was found about three hours later at Cape Range National Park canyon, south of Exmouth in northern Western Australia.
The recovery operation began early on Thursday, and Mr Watts and Ms Nuttall were identified as the two on board.
Heartbroken friends expressed their shock after hearing about the devastating news.
‘We did know them pretty well – I used to play cricket with Mal, and through the business, that is how we know them,’ a friend told The West Australian.
‘It is just a shock to everyone. We wish the family all the best, what more can you say.’
Shire of Exmouth president Matt Niikkula said the community has been ‘rocked’ by the awful news.
‘Our hearts go out to their families and the many, many close friends who are heavily grieving right now,’ he said.
Mr Watts and Ms Nuttall were identified as the two on board the light aircraft on Thursday
Paramedics are seen arriving at the scene of the plane wreckage where two people died
Inspector Mark Tobiassen said the wreckage was spotted from an airplane and police were notified.
‘We secured that scene and stayed with them through the night,’ he said.
‘With the help of the Department of Fire and Emergency Services and SES we were able to recover both deceased persons.’
Civil Aviation Safety Authority will investigate the crash, which could take a few months based on what little is left of the aircraft.
Microlight aircrafts are 40 times more dangerous than normal airplanes due to their size and the affect of turbulence, according to experts.
The couple were keen flyers with Mr Watts listed as an apprentice flight instructor at Birds Eye View Ningaloo and Ms Nuttall an avid member of local groups.
Following a desperate search for the couple, the flight wreckage was found about three hours later at Cape Range National Park canyon, south of Exmouth
Source: Daily Mail Australia | World News