The father of three children killed in a plane crash along with their grandfather gushed about the beauty of fatherhood in a post online – as eerie footage emerges of the aircraft at the centre of the tragedy.
Accountant David Smith and his wife Elise moved to Armidale, in northern NSW, in late 2020 as he took on the role as the Diocesan Financial Administrator for the local Catholic Church.
In the years since, the couple – who had been living in nearby Tamworth – have become well-respected members of the community and welcomed their fifth child.
But tragedy struck on Friday when their three eldest children Raphael, 11, Evita, nine, and Philomena, six, were killed alongside Elise’s father Peter Nally, when the aircraft he was flying crashed in a paddock at Gundaroo, just north of Canberra.
At the time, Mr Nally, a highly experienced pilot, had been flying the children home after the group had spent two days in Canberra visiting extended family.
Now, as the family comes to terms with their devastating loss, an old interview has come to light where Mr Smith raved about family life and doted on the ‘uniqueness’ of his children.
In November 2020, as Mr Smith embraced his new job, he spoke to the Diocese of Armidale to give the members of the parish insight about their freshly appointed DFA.
David and Elise Smith with their children Raphael, 11, Evita, nine, and Philomena, six during happier times
The light plane crashed (pictured) in Gundaroo, about 35km north of Canberra, on Friday afternoon before the aircraft burst into flames
Mr Smith said fatherhood had taught him three things that he did not expect.
‘Kids can be so insightful and really surprise you,’ he said.
‘[Also] life is not perfect and you need to be patient and understanding, particularly with your children.
‘[And] lastly, there is no limit to compassion and kindness, use these often and freely!’
Asked about the challenges of having a large family, Mr Smith said he and his wife had ‘no regrets’ and marrying his wife was the ‘best deal’ he could ever have made because ‘I am so well looked after and my kids are too!’
‘Our kids are all beautiful,’ he continued.
‘[They are] each so unique and they can be really funny too!’.
The heartbreaking post comes as haunting footage emerges of the five-seater Cirrus SR22 registration VH-MSF involved in the crash up and running at Redcliffe Aero Club just months ago.
A video shared online by a tourist visiting the club shows a man sitting on the wing of the plane as it idles on the tarmac while crowds of people surround it, taking photos.
Elise and David moved to Armidale with their children three years ago
The clip is accompanied by Frank Sinatra’s hit song ‘Come Fly With Me’.
The plane Mr Nally was flying was registered to the club’s president Mike Cahill.
Mr Nally, who is from Bunga in Brisbane, departed from Redcliffe Aero Club early last week to go to Armidale to visit his daughter, before later taking his three grandchildren down to Canberra.
The four family members were just 16 minutes into the 750km trip back to Armidale when the plane crashed near Lake George.
While taking off, the plane climbed to 9,000ft but quickly lost altitude and smashed into the ground where it burst into flames.
The single-engine aircraft exploded on impact at around 2.50pm.
Air traffic control repeatedly tried to raise a response from Mr Nally but were met with radio silence before eventually raising the alarm.
Investigators said working out was caused the crash would be difficult because of the level of destruction
Mr Nally, who has hundreds of hours of flying experience, and his wife Therese are highly-respected members of the north Brisbane community.
The couple also own an indoor plant hire business – which has operated for more than 20 years – and are active within their local Catholic Diocese.
Tributes have begun flowing online, with friend remembering Mr Nally as a ‘very good guy’.
Yun Hap Taekwondo Club said Mr Nally and his wife were ‘great supporters’ of the club, which was attended by several of their children.
‘Most of our current club members will be too new to remember Liam Nally, Yun Hap 4th Dan, who trained with us for many years. Liam’s sister, Beth, and brother, Michael, also trained with us for a long time.
‘The Nally family is a big family and Liam, Beth and Michael have other siblings as well.
‘Our thoughts are with them all at this sad time. May they all rest in peace and may the family receive love and support from each other and those around them.’
The Cirrus SR22 has a whole plane parachute as a standard safety feature that has a very high success rate at saving lives when deployed above 1,000ft
The Redcliffe Aero Club also issued a statement offering its deepest condolences to the family.
‘The pilot was active in the social side of the Club with many hours of flying experience,’ the organisation said.
‘The aircraft was privately owned and not operated by the club.
Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) have sent teams to examine the crash site to determine what happened.
Investigators are reportedly focusing on why a special parachute, that is a standard safety feature on the aircraft, did not appear to deploy.
The Cirrus SR22 has a built-in whole plane ‘ballistic parachute’ designed to prevent such crashes.
ATSB Chief Operating Officer Colin McNamara said engineers will study the plane’s maintenance log as well as the flight history of the pilot.
The ATSB’s preliminary report is expected to be released within two months.
Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk
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