News Plane Crashes Update News — 02 April 2017

Update: Locals in the tiny district of Clutha are shocked and devastated by the death of a young couple in a plane crash.

Farmer and pilot Thomas John Evans, 30, and his girlfriend Jenna Frances Craig, 26, were killed in the accident yesterday.

The Rans S6 microlight crashed at Kaka Point in The Catlins, South Otago.

The couple were both from the area, with Evans working as a farmer near Clydevale, and Craig as a sales rep for Fonterra’s Farm Source store in Balclutha.

Farm Source stores director Jason Minkhorst told the Herald they had closed the store today as a mark of respect to Craig.

He said staff needed the time to grieve for a well-respected and liked colleague.

“She was one of the stars, had massive potential.

“She’s been with us for several years, and all the farmers really liked her.

“The team’s absolutely devastated. Our farmers will understand why we had to shut for the day, we’re all so upset.

“We’re just trying to give everyone as much support as we can.”

Thomas Evans and Jenna Craig, who died in a microlight plane crash over the weekend. Photo / Facebook

Thomas Evans and Jenna Craig, who died in a microlight plane crash over the weekend. Photo / Facebook

“She was just so well respected, by her peers, by farmers and customers.

“That’s probably as much as I can get out without crumbling at the moment.”

Evans previously studied agriculture in England, at Harper Adams University.

Once back in South Otago, he played for the Owaka rugby football club.

The families of both Evans and Craig have requested privacy.

A Fire Service spokesman said the crash was “halfway between Kaka Point and Owaka, just off the Owaka Highway”.

He said the crash site was in a rural area, near Ahuriri Flat.

The crash is being investigated jointly by police and the Civil Aviation Authority, with oversight from the Coroner.

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Other news:
Balclutha police have confirmed that a 30-year-old male and a 26-year-old female, both from the Clutha District, have died in a light plane crash near Balclutha.

Sergeant Robin Hutton of Balclutha, who was on the scene following the crash at about 10am Sunday, said details were not yet known regarding the route taken by the aircraft.

It crashed on a farm property on Wright Road in the Glenomaru Valley, a few kilometres off the Owaka-Balclutha Highway.

“Police have secured the scene and advised the Civil Aviation Authority, who will be investigating the crash on Monday morning.”

Other landowners would be approached for information about the crash and investigations were ongoing, he said.

Police were in the process of notifying next of kin.

Three police officers, two ambulances and a fire brigade attended the scene, and initially two helicopters, which were stood down.

A St John spokesman said two ambulances and two helicopters were first called to the scene about 10.10am.

“The ambulances got there, assessed the situation and the helicopters were stood down because of the fatalities.”

A Civil Aviation Authority spokesman said the plane was a Rans S6 and had two people on board.

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