Kiwis killed in Queensland crash

Last updated 19:27 23/03/2014

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Hours before Joey King died in a plane crash with fiancee Rahi Hohua and three others, he was joking about his fear of skydiving to his mates on social media.

Witnesses say the Cessna 206 disintegrated in a fireball when it crashed shortly after taking off from the Caboolture Airfield, north of Brisbane, on Saturday.

Police have yet to release the names of the dead, but they are believed to be Mr King, his fiancee Ms Hohua, both originally from New Zealand, skydiving instructors Glenn Norman and Juraj Glesk and the pilot.

Just hours before the crash Mr King posted a chilling message on Facebook about his fear of skydiving.

"So I woke up this morning nervous as hell about the sky diving today," he wrote.

"I'm about to conquer my greatest fear. I love everyone lol."

At first his friends responded by jokingly asking him to leave them his speakers and one said "it was nice meeting u bro", then Ms Hohua joined the conversation.

"lol crack up boys", she wrote.

After bantering with his friends for two hours, Mr King made his final post.

"Thanx guyz except for Chuck lol", he wrote.

Airport safety officer Bryan Carpenter said the plane veered to the left just after takeoff, plunging to the ground and being engulfed by flames within a minute of impact.

Mr Carpenter and Mark Thompson, from the Caboolture Warplane Museum, said it was the worst crash they had seen at the airfield.

"They've had a couple of incidents here but nothing like this," said Mr Thompson, who ran about 200 metres to the scene after hearing a loud thud and seeing a plume of smoke.

Within hours of the tragedy, Mr King and Ms Hohua's worried friends returned to Facebook.

"Cuz hope it wasn't you's on that plane! Let us know you alguds," one friend wrote.

"Omg Joseph King that wasn't your plane, was it?," wrote another.

Someone then informed their friends that the couple had died.

"I love you too my bro..... Rest in paradise......:(," one wrote.

Another friend added: "Soooooo gutted right now!"

"Much love stunna gna miss u brother :(," said another.

The Department of Community Safety has declined to comment about Norman, who is believed to have been a firefighter at Woodridge Station.

Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) investigators will go over the wreckage, interview witnesses and study the weather as they try to piece together what went wrong, an ATSB spokesman said.

Mr Carpenter said the crash could have been caused by any number of things.

"One of the things one would expect would be an engine failure but the engine was delivering power on touchdown," he told Fairfax Radio Network on Saturday.

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"So it's something mechanical I would say ... or the pilot could have blacked out - any number of scenarios; it's a bit like MH370 at the moment, we just don't know."


- AAP

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