The Lockhart River beach where a light plane crashed on Wednesday, killing five Cairns men.
The Lockhart River beach where a light plane crashed on Wednesday, killing five Cairns men.

Lockhart River: First plane crash victims identified

HUSBANDS, fathers, grandfathers, mates. Generous, kind, loyal, brave men who went to work on Wednesday and never came home.

Many of the devastated family and friends of the QBuild workers and pilot, who tragically lost their lives when the light aircraft they were travelling in crashed outside Lockhart River, have spoken out to remember their loved ones.

Aged between 39 and 63, the five men all lived in Cairns and had been flying into the remote community to work for the day.

The eldest of the group, health and safety officer Wayne Ganter, 63, had spent years in the construction industry, working around the country and overseas in Malaysia before moving back to Cairns with wife Lisa and their children.

 

Wayne Ganter is being remembered as “loyal, honest and hardworking”. Picture Facebook
Wayne Ganter is being remembered as “loyal, honest and hardworking”. Picture Facebook

 

Son Jake described his dad, a father of three and grandfather of five, as "loyal, honest and hardworking".

"First and foremost he was a family man, devoting his time to providing, teaching and making sacrifices for us that we will always be truly grateful for," he said.

"He taught us to be conscious and brave, and we know that's how he would have been in his last moments."

He said Wayne loved the outdoors and fishing, one of the reasons why they moved to Cairns from Sydney.

"He was passionate about construction, where he had spent his working life and continued his employment in the safety realm to help others enjoy construction as he had," Jake said.

Friends of 49-year-old victim Mark Rawlings described him as "the life of the party", an "amazing mate" and "a beautiful, loving, generous person".

Mark Rawlings, 49.
Mark Rawlings, 49.

"You lived life like you stole it," one friend penned in a tribute.

Another added: "You were beautiful inside and out. I am going to miss you with all my heart."

Born and bred Far North man Wayne Brischke, 57, has been identified as another of the victims.

The father-of-three and grandfather-of-two tragically lost both his parents Edward and Cecilee Brischke in a fatal crash at Wrights Creek just south of Cairns in 2009, and his beloved wife Mary to cancer in 2013.

His father Edward had also worked in the construction industry as a carpenter and was prominent in the union movement.

 

 

A Housing and Public Works spokesman said they were providing support to their staff.

"We are shocked and deeply saddened by the tragic loss of five lives, including three QBuild staff and a QBuild contractor," he said.

"Our thoughts are with their families and friends."

Housing and Public Works Minister Mick de Brenni described the incident as a "devastating event.

"Five people went to work and they never came home - we all mourn the loss of our colleagues and friends," he said.

"QBuild staff and tradies are always there when Queenslanders need them most and their dedication to serving our community will not be forgotten.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected by this tragedy."

Wayne Brischke, 57.
Wayne Brischke, 57.