A young woman and a Dutch pilot died Wednesday on a flight to celebrate birthday. Their vintage plane crashed off the Gold Coast in Australia.
52-year-old Marcel Van Hattem, a Dutch national reportedly went on a birthday joyflight yesterday with his 31-year-old passenger, Trista Applebee, before the plane crashed.
During the search, Mr Van Hattem’s body was found, but Trista Applebee – who has an 11-year-old daughter – remains missing.
A photo taken outside the pilot’s home shows his German shepherd waiting patiently at the front gate.
According to Police, the man and the woman knew each other, and the pilot had taken her for a joy ride on Wednesday ahead of her birthday.
“It actually was a birthday flight. The pilot was known to her and providing that flight as part of her birthday celebrations,” Senior Sergeant Jay Notaro told reporters.
The president of the Southport Flying Club said it was clear something went horribly wrong for the proficient pilot.
Neil Aitkenhead says the pilot was a regular at the club’s airstrip and was well-respected and proficient.
“It’s a tragedy,” he told AAP.