Australia Day plane crash pilot Peter Lynch 'loved flying'; authorities search wreckage for answers.

By Rebecca Trigger and Graeme Powell.

The pilot of a sea plane that crashed into Perth’s Swan River during Australia Day festivities yesterday, killing both occupants, has been remembered as a “much-loved” member of the aviation community.

Western Australian police have this morning released the names of the pilot, Peter Lynch, 52 and his colleague and girlfriend Endah Cakrawati, 30, who died in the crash.

Thousands of onlookers gathered in the city for the annual Skyshow watched in horror yesterday as the Grumman G-73 Mallard flying boat banked sharply before crashing into the water.

Tributes have been paid to the pilot, Peter Lynch, who was a member of aviation enthusiast community the Great Eastern Fly-In.

Mr Lynch had been planning to open an aviation museum at Evans Head, on the northern New South Wales coast.

Close friend Halden Boyd said the Evans Head community would be “shell-shocked” by the news.

“He just loved aviation so much, everyone that knew him loved him to death. He was such a genuine guy,” Mr Boyd said.

“We’re all pretty shell-shocked, he’s such a nice bloke, he had such a vision.”

Friend Gai Taylor said Mr Lynch had a huge passion for flying.

“We’re just deeply shocked, really, really shocked and I was just shattered really,” she told the ABC.

“He just loved flying, he loved it.”

A horrified onlooker captured the moment before the plane hit the water. Supplied: Michael Legg

A mining consultant with business interests in Indonesia, Mr Lynch is understood to have only moved to Western Australia six months ago.

The deadly crash prompted the cancellation of the annual Australia Day fireworks display, which organisers had expected to attract 300,000 people.


Police this morning removed the plane's fuel tanks from the water, but continued to keep the scene locked down as they combed through the wreckage looking for answers.

A police guard remains on the scene this morning.

Gasps from crowd as pilot loses control

Witness Tamara Legenstein said she first saw the plane out of the corner of her eye.

"I saw it heading towards the water, I was sort of thinking at first that it was a stunt plane and that it was going to go down low and then head up back into the sky," he said.

"But it started to cartwheel, hit the water and then broke into two.

"[It] took a few seconds to realise that it was real."

Peta Healy said people around her were initially in disbelief, before hoping that those in the plane were OK.

"I watched the plane come down the South Perth side of the river and turn, and as it turned it went on its side and headed to the water.

"So it nosedived, and then I head a 'boof', like a noise, and you could see that it was broken into two pieces.

"The police boats were out there pretty quickly."

Skyworks cancelled, unused fireworks removed from River

A barge filled with fireworks which had been destined for Perth's annual fireworks display, Skyworks, was moved out of the area this morning.

It is not clear if the fireworks, which have been estimated to cost $2 million, will now be used.

This post originally appeared on ABC News.

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