By HARRY CLARKE
THE close knit south west Queensland community of Mungindi is in mourning following the tragic death of pilot Tom Grey, who was killed when the crop dusting plane he was flying crashed in a paddock near Chinchilla yesterday.
Mr Grey, aged in his early 30s, died at the scene after his aircraft crashed about 30km north east of Chinchilla on a property off Chinchilla-Wondai Rd about 12.20pm.
Australian Transport and Safety Bureau experts from Canberra and Forensic Crash Unit officers from Toowoomba are at the crash site today investigating the potential cause.
Chinchilla Police told the Caller a bird strike may have been what brought the plane down. A report will be prepared for the coroner following a full investigation.
Mr Grey was an experienced crop dusting pilot, having spent six years working for the Mungindi and Meandarra based Precision Aerial before joining Cecil Plains based Smart Air Services earlier this year.
Charlie Tootell, Mr Grey’s former employer, described him as a “beautiful kid” who was a hard worker and popular among his peers.
“We’re just devastated. This guy was so popular with his young age group and peers,” Mr Tootell said.
“I don’t know of a young fella who has touched so many people. It’s just devastating for our town. He had a huge work ethic, he was a fantastic pilot and just a great friend too. I’m distraught.
“I can’t say enough kind words about that kid.”
Mr Grey was a boarding alumnus from Toowoomba Grammar School and came from a well known and respected cropping family from Mungindi.
It’s understood he moved to the Darling Downs earlier this year for his employment.