2 Dead after mid-air collision in Sydney

Two women died when plane crashed into a backyard after a mid air collison
By staff writers and wires
December 18, 2008 03:37pm

Two planes caught colliding near Bankstown on the aircraft tracking website WebTrak.
Planes collide mid-air as one tries to land
One crashes into backyard, two dead

TWO women, believed to be in their 20s, were killed when a light plane crashed into a house after a mid-air collision with another plane today.

The pilot and her passenger died when their Cessna hit the rear of a two-storey house in Sydney's southwest about 11.30am.

It is believed one of the dead women was a 23-year-old from India who was studying in Sydney.

Assistant Police Commissioner Frank Menilli said the rear of the house was a mess, and the back patio had been destroyed.

But the mother who lived at the home with her newborn baby escaped the tragedy, because she was taking the tot to visit Santa.

Asst Commissioner Menilli said the bodies of the two women had not yet been recovered.

"The bodies are in situ and it is extremely difficult to actually see their age but I expect they are in their late 20s."

The plane crashed on Flame Tree Street in Casula about 11.30am (AEDT). The mid-air collision happened as one of the two planes involved tried to land at Bankstown Airport.

Flying school devastated by crash
Instructor, 89, checked regularly
Government website captures horrific collision.

The other plane sent a mayday call to the airport before it made an emergency landing. Its 25-year-old student pilot and 89-year-old instructor suffered only minor injuries, the ambulance service said.

THE moment when two planes collided in mid-air, sending was captured in astonishing detail on a government website intended to help monitor aircraft noise.

A witness has told Fairfax Radio Network the plane that crashed had its tail hanging off before it came down.

"I was going along the M5 and I've just seen this thing coming down ... the tail was hanging off the back and it's crashed into the back of a house up near Box Road and it's absolutely demolished the back of their house," he said.

The owner of the house, Stephen Condina, told local news site the Liverpool Leader no one was at home when the plane hit.

“I haven’t been allowed in (to my house) yet to see the damage, but I think (the plane) landed half in the house and half in the backyard,” he said.

His wife Bianca Valerio, 30, was taking her newborn son Aiden and house guests to Liverpool Westfield so the baby could be photographed with Santa.

Her father Gino Valerio, 58, said he was on his way to the house as the plane crashed in to the back verandah.

"I'm counting my blessing." Mr Valerio said. "We were on our way to work in the backyard to fix some pavings."

He said he had spoken to his daughter who was relieved to have missed the tragedy, adding: "She's just happy to be alive."

Meredith Laverty at Bankstown Airport said one plane was landing when it collided into another.

The airport was closed for a short time after the second plane landed safely.

Basair Aviation College has confirmed it owned the plane that hit the house, but declined to make immediate comment.

A spokesman for Sydney Flight Training Centre said it owned the plane that landed safely, and it had been carrying a student pilot and an instructor.

"The one that landed safely was ours," the spokesman said. "The other aircraft belonged to another school."