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Five Die In Country Air Crash

The Age

Friday June 12, 1992

BRUCE TOBIN

Five men were killed when their light plane nosedived into a paddock on a farm in central Victoria yesterday.

They were flying to a harness-racing meeting at Ouyen when the single-engine Piper Cherokee plunged to the ground at Moormbool West, near Heathcote, east of Bendigo.

Four were members of a trotting syndicate and had a trotter racing at the harness meeting last night. The fifth member of the syndicate had stayed in Melbourne because of work commitments.

The men were: the pilot, Desmond Wirtanen, 52, of Wyuna Walk, Mooroolbark; Ian Tatterson, 42, of Walkers Road, Mount Eliza; Ken Saddington, 45, of Heatherhill Road, Frankston; Phil Grostate, 38, of Downnward Street, Mornington; and Gerry Lynn, 36, of Connie Street, South Oakleigh.

The plane had set out from Coldstream and collected the passengers from Lilydale for the flight to Ouyen.

A witness, Mr Les Gleeson, 33, was working on his property about 1.40pm when he noticed the plane flying low with its engine revving. He said he watched the plane circle the area moments before it banked sharply, clipped some trees and plunge into his paddock beside Gray-Redcastle Road.

The plane hit the ground and broke up as it careered for about 100 metres across the paddock.

Inspector Ulf Kaminski, of Bendigo police, said the five in the plane had no chance of survival. ``The way the plane had crashed the people didn't have a chance." A team from the Bureau of Air Safety Investigation examined the crash scene, but the cause of the crash is not known. The state coroner, Mr Hal Hallenstein, attended.

© 1992 The Age

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