Man killed in gyrocopter crash, farmer alerted by fire

GYROCOPTER CRASH: A man was killed after his small gyrocopter slammed into the side of a hill at Lefthand Branch Road near Mt Sylvia yesterday.
GYROCOPTER CRASH: A man was killed after his small gyrocopter slammed into the side of a hill at Lefthand Branch Road near Mt Sylvia yesterday. Amy Lyne

A MAN was killed after his gyrocopter slammed into the side of a hill at Lefthand Branch, near Mt Sylvia yesterday afternoon.

Gatton police Sergeant Tony Harm said about 1.15pm police received a call from a local farmer that there had been a crash near Lefthand Branch Rd.

He said the single-male occupant was found deceased at the scene.

"Investigations are in very early stages at this time. We have heard from a witness that he was in the air for a couple of minutes and then the sound of the engine stopped," Sgt Harm said

"As a result of the crash a spot fire started which quickly developed up the steep hills here and with the dry wind that we have got at the moment it's flamed fairly intensely."

Neighbour Michael Steere said the first thing he noticed was a fire on the hill.

"I thought it was just a fire, I'm actually in the local rural fire brigade and thought I'd better come down and have a look," he said. "Upon talking to my neighbour I discovered my other neighbour here was deceased, it's very distressing."

Mr Steere said the man was an accomplished mechanical engineer and loved flying.

"We've known him for about two years, and I know he's been in the area for probably a decade," he said.

"He was a mechanical engineer, he's quite a genius with making and building stuff and he is quite an enthusiastic gyrocopter pilot.

"We regularly saw him at least once a week flying around the valley.

"He would regularly go off to national events too and associated with other enthusiasts regularly and helped other people build their gyrocopters."

Police from the Forensic Crash Unit are investigating the cause of the crash.

Multiple rural fire brigade units worked to control the blaze throughout the afternoon.

Topics:  crash fatality gatton gyrocopter

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