Tribute to plane crash victims at Lockhart River. PHOTO: Lockhart River council
Tribute to plane crash victims at Lockhart River. PHOTO: Lockhart River council

Funeral restrictions add to heartache for plane crash families

THE son of a man killed in a plane crash at Lockhart River says their family is now struggling to plan how to say goodbye to him under the government's strict new lockdown laws.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced on Tuesday night funerals would now be limited to just 10 people among a raft of new rules to be brought in to stop the spread of coronavirus.

QBuild health and safety manager Wayne Ganter, along with two colleagues Wayne Brischke and Henry Roebig, pest control contractor Mark Rawlings and pilot Stuart Wavell all died when their light aircraft crashed into a sand dune trying to land in the Cape York community earlier this month.

 

Wayne Ganter.
Wayne Ganter.

 

Wayne Brischke.
Wayne Brischke.

 

Mr Ganter's son Jake said they were still yet to receive his remains or a death certificate as the investigation into the crash continued.

But said he had begun making funeral inquiries with heartbreaking results.

"I thought we've got mum, three kids and five grandkids, that's nine people, we'd be all good, but the funeral home told me that's 10 people including three staff members," he said.

"I'm not trying to detract from what the government is trying to do, it's for the greater good. Everything is bigger than the individual person.

 

Mark Rawlings.
Mark Rawlings.

 

Henry Roebig.
Henry Roebig.

 

 

"Unfortunately we're not the only ones going through that so we can take a little comfort in that I guess. As an individual you've got to think about the greater good."

Jake Ganter said he planned to drive with his two young children from Brisbane to Cairns in the coming days, leaving his heavily pregnant partner at home, to meet family and hold a private memorial.

 

 

The Lockhart River beach where a light plane crashed on Wednesday, killed five Cairns men.
The Lockhart River beach where a light plane crashed on Wednesday, killed five Cairns men.

 

He said he hoped a permanent memorial might eventually be erected for the five men somewhere in Cairns.

Cape York police Inspector Mark Henderson said the tricky operation to retrieve the aircraft and bodies was completed last Wednesday.

He praised the efforts of Cairns-based Nautilus Aviation, which worked to remove the aircraft section from the dunes. The area was largely inaccessible on foot.

The Australian Transport and Safety Bureau is leading the investigation alongside police's Forensic Crash Unit and a preliminary report is due for release next month.

Mr Morrison today released a statement that there would be some exceptions to the 10-person limit for funerals "in hardship cases".

Originally published as Funeral restrictions add to heartache for plane crash families