Plane Crash Update: Victims Serious But Stable

Experienced instructor and pilot suffer serious burns during crash at Orange Airport

What you need to know
  • Light plane came down at Orange Airport at 7:10pm Tuesday
  • A man and woman were airlifted to Royal North Shore Hospital with critical burns
  • Investigations into the cause of the crash are underway

A pilot and instructor are in a serious but stable condition, after a fiery light plane crash in western New South Wales.

55-year-old Catherine Fitzsimons and 46-year-old Ben Wheeler have been identified as the two people injured when the aircraft came down at Orange Airport late yesterday.

Both suffered extensive burns to their arms, scalp, legs and airways, as well as possible fractures.

It's understood Fitzsimons sustained the most serious injuries.

The Cirrus SR-22 was doing circuits when it came down on the northern side of the runway about 7pm on Tuesday.

NSW Ambulance said the pair was practicing take-off and landing procedures when the crash occurred.

Fitzsimons is the owner of Bathurst's WardAir Flight School. It's believed  Wheeler owned the aircraft. Both crash victims have years of flying experience.

The pair was found conscious with extensive burns and removed from the aircraft. Both were then airlifted to Royal North Shore Hospital.

Paramedics said the two victims were unable to explain what happened in the moments before the crash.

A team of investigators from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau will be at the crash site over the next three days, gathering data.

At this stage the cause of the crash remains unclear.