A SOUTH Australian pilot killed in a plane crash was a respected seaplane pilot and director of Forensic Science SA, Professor Ross Vining.
Professor Vining, 62, was in far north Queensland to view last week's solar eclipse when he was killed.
Prof Vining was the sole occupant of a seaplane flying from Bamaga Airport at the tip of far north Queensland to the town of Weipa on Thursday.
The wreckage of the aircraft was found yesterday morning after the search began late on Thursday when he failed to arrive.
Attorney General John Rau expressed his condolences this afternoon after hearing of Mr Vining's passing.
"Prof Vining was very highly regarded by staff at Forensic Science SA where, I am sure, he will be greatly missed,'' he said.
"At this time, my thoughts are with Ross' family members, friends and colleagues.''
Attorney General's Department Chief Executive Rick Persse also expressed his sadness at Prof Vining's death.
"On behalf of the Department I would like to extend our deepest condolences to Ross's wife Linda and son Ben,'' he said.
"Ross was internationally recognised in his field and driven by his personal philosophy of `Science safeguarding society'.
"He was an exceptional leader of forensics and respected and admired by everyone who worked with him.''
The wreckage of Mr Vining's aircraft was found yesterday morning after a search began late on Thursday when he failed to arrive in Weipa.
Queensland Police said he died at the scene. Forensic crash investigators are preparing a report for the Coroner.