Monday, May 01, 2017

Plane crash pilot prepares for sentence: Thruster T500 ultralight, accident occurred October 28, 2013 in Bass Strait, Tasmania, Australia

 Joel Nelson (passenger) and Shayd Hector (pilot)

Three-and-a-half years after crashing his plane into Bass Strait, a New South Wales pilot will learn his fate on Tuesday.

Shayd Hector, 27, appeared in the Launceston Magistrates Court on Monday, having pleaded guilty to reckless flying.

In October 2013 he attempted to fly his ultralight aircraft from Bridport to Flinders Island, despite not holding the appropriate license to travel across the strait.

Engine troubles saw the plane crash shortly after take-off, north of Waterhouse Island.

An extensive search and rescue operation took place, involving three planes, a Victorian Air Ambulance, the Tasmania Police Westpac Rescue Helicopter, Tasmania Police boats and a yacht.

Hector and his passenger, Joel Nelson, were found clinging to an inflatable mattress and suffering from hypothermia after two hours in the water.

Hector returned to Tasmania on Monday expecting to receive his sentence, with the support of his mother who sat in the back of the court.

Newcastle pilot Shayd Hector stands in front of a Jabiru LSA 55/2J plane on a tarmac. Shayd Hector and his passenger were rescued after ditching a Thruster T500 ultralight in Bass Strait.

His lawyer, Evan Hughes, told the court Hector had been “financially drained” by the long-running case which had seen him make 11 trips to Tasmania. 

The court also heard Hector was still paying off a loan he took out to purchase the plane, which was never recovered from the Bass Strait.

Pushing for a suspended sentence, Mr. Hughes said the incident had been a “life changing event” for Hector who had gone on to have two children and regain his pilot's certificate.

Magistrate Sharon Cure is expected to hand down her sentence on Tuesday at 2.15pm.

Original article can be found here:

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