Name of pilot killed in Southern Tasmania plane crash revealed
Written by Josh Agnew on December 10, 2018
Tasmania Police has confirmed Tranmere woman Nikita Jo Walker was the pilot killed in a light plane crash in the state’s remote south-west on Saturday.
The pilot of the Par-Avion flight was making a routine flight to Melaluca at around 8.30am on Saturday, but had attempted to return to Hobart before it went missing. Par-Avion initiated a rescue aircraft to the scene shortly after they lost contact with the plane.
The disappearance of the plane sparked a wide scale search of the rugged terrain near the Western Arthur Ranges, but the dangerous conditions meant rescue workers were unable to be winched down to site safely.
A Westpac Rescue helicopter finally spotted the wreckage in a remote area of Tasmania’s south west known as ‘West Portal’ around 7pm on Saturday night.
Searches were carried out on Saturday with the plane being located about 7pm. It was made difficult because of the terrain and weather.
The 30-year-old woman’s body was retrieved from the scene yesterday.
Ms Walker, who was originally from Queensland, moved to Tasmania to further her career as a commercial pilot, joining Par Avion in 2016.
Airlines of Tasmania Managing Director Shannon Wells said his staff and management were in shock over the loss.
“There have been a lot of tears shed by me and our colleagues, we’re a small family business, we train up a lot of our family here and we see the same people every day,” he said.
“She’d learned to fly with us, which is part of why it’s so sad as well. She moved down to Tasmania to become a pilot. She did all [her] training here, [she] was well-versed in Tasmanian flying conditions.”
Mr Wells said it had been a tough few days.
“There has been a lot of tears shed between my self and my colleagues. We’re a small family business and have trained up a lot of our people here,” he said.
“We’re only about 30 staff and we know them all by name so when one of them doesn’t come home it really hits us all quite hard.”
Ms Walker’s family have travelled to Hobart on the news of her death.
A report is being prepared for the coroner.
Our thoughts are with Nikita’s family and her loved ones at this difficult time.