Friday, July 04, 2014

Cessna T210N Turbo Centurion, VH-ZFW: Accident occurred July 04, 2014 at Inverell Airport, New South Wales, Australia

School teacher dies after Inverell plane crash 

The community of Inverell is in mourning after a light plane crash claimed the life of a local school teacher and left her doctor husband seriously injured.

Caro Harding, 47, suffered extensive burns and died early on Saturday after the Cessna T210N Turbo Centurion plane piloted by her husband Mark crashed on Friday afternoon.

The couple's 13-year-old daughter was also on board, but escaped with minor injuries.

The plane, which experienced difficulties soon after take-off, came down in the Clive State Forest. It then burst into flames and sparked a grass fire near the airport in Inverell, on the NSW Northern Tablelands.

The three family members were rushed to Inverell District Hospital. Dr Harding, a GP at the Evans Street Surgery, and his wife were later flown to a specialist burns unit at Sydney's Royal North Shore Hospital.

Mrs Harding, who taught a kindergarten class at Inverell Public School, suffered burns to most of her body and died in hospital about 12.20am on Saturday.

Dr Harding, 52, remains in hospital in a serious condition. Their daughter is understood to have been released after receiving treatment for burns to her legs.

The mayor of Inverell, Paul Harmon, said the Hardings were "a lovely family'' and the accident had hit the close-knit community hard. Everyone was wishing for Dr Harding's recovery, he said.

"Unfortunately when there's a major tragedy like this, there's a big chance you will know the people involved,'' he said. "The whole community is saddened by the tragic loss of Mrs Harding. She was an absolutely lovely lady.''

Cr Harmon said Mrs Harding's colleagues and students would find it difficult returning to school without her after the holidays. "The community as a whole is grieving,'' he said.

Colleagues of the Hardings declined to comment when contacted by Fairfax Media on Saturday.

Witnesses on Friday reported hearing the aircraft's single engine splutter before it crashed.

Jade Olds said she was driving home when she saw something "like a pebble skipping across the water ... and then it came to a standstill''.

"There was a man who just stopped dead in the road and then he just ripped his shirt off and pulled people out of the plane,'' she said. "I just saw them getting taken out of the plane – it didn't look pretty ... and then the plane just went ka-boom and there was fire everywhere."

Investigators from the Australian Transport and Safety Bureau will examine the site and the wreckage to determine the cause of the crash.

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A woman who died in hospital after a light plane crashed and burst into flames in northern NSW was flying to Brisbane with her family.

The 47-year-old, widely named by media as Cara Harding, died in Sydney's Royal North Shore Hospital in the early hours of Saturday morning.

She and husband, reported to be Dr.  Mark Harding, 52, were airlifted to the Sydney hospital on Friday night after leaving Inverell Hospital in a critical condition with serious burns.

Dr.  Harding remains in a critical condition.

Their 13-year-old daughter suffered burns to her legs.

The mayor of Inverell, Paul Harmon, paid tribute to the popular teacher.

'She was a valued member of the school staff, you know, having an impact on lots of young people's lives,' he told the Seven Network.

'She certainly is going to be missed. It's very sad.'

The family were injured when their Cessna T210N Turbo Centurion got into trouble shortly after take off and crashed in the Clive State Forest, next to Inverell Airport, just after 1pm Friday.

The plane burst into flames causing a grass fire but all three managed to escape the wreckage.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau is investigating and police are preparing a report for the coroner.

Caro Harding, a teacher at Inverell Public School, who died in a Cessna T210N Turbo Centurion plane crash.

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