Opposition leader Peter Dutton has revealed his family’s friendship with a ‘generous’ father and ‘intelligent’ son who were killed in a light plane crash on Monday.
Millionaire agribusiness leader Tom Strachan, 49, and his 20-year-old son Noah died in the Valley crash, along with experienced pilot Gary Liehm.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) has sent a team to the crash site to collect components and material for analysis.
Mr Dutton, whose children, like the Strachan family, attend Brisbane Grammar School, expressed his shock at the tragedy.
He posted a heartfelt tribute to the family on social media, saying that ‘Like many friends of Tom Strachan and his 20-year-old son Noah Strachan, our family is devastated by their loss.’
Liberal leader Peter Dutton (centre right) is pictured with his wife Kirilly (centre left). Mr Dutton said his family is ‘devastated’ at the death of their friends Tom Strachan and his son Noah in a light plane crash
The Liberal leader said Mr Strachan senior ‘was a larger-than-life character, a strong and principled man with a generous heart and a wonderful father and husband’.
‘He was a man whose word you could trust, and he supported many philanthropic causes,’ Mr Dutton added.
He also wrote about Noah, saying ‘the apple didn’t fall far from the tree’.
‘He was an intelligent, polite, and industrious young man in the prime of his life. They leave behind a beautiful family.’
Mr Dutton said though he did not know the pilot Mr Liehm well, he ‘had the pleasure of meeting him’ and that he was ‘an exceptionally accomplished pilot’ who had worked with Queensland’s emergency services.
He offered his condolences to Mr Liehm’s ‘devastated family and friends’.
The Cessna aircraft crashed in remote bushland near Lowood an hour west of Brisbane on Monday, 샌즈카지노 killing all three on board.
The plane had been travelling to Archerfield Airport in southern Brisbane from Dalby on the Darling Downs.
The tragic death of Tom Strachan (pictured) and his son sparked an outpouring of tributes
Tom Strachan’s business analyst son, 20-year-old Noah (pictured), also died in the crash
No mayday calls were sent and it was not until four hours after the flight went missing that the alarm was raised.
The plane was found split in two, with parts of the wreckage strewn 50metres apart.
Police officers retrieved the men’s bodies on Tuesday afternoon and expect to remain on scene for most of Wednesday.
Queensland Farmers’ Federation CEO Jo Sheppard said the accident would hit regional communities in the state, where the three men were active in business.
‘Our condolences to the families. Our thoughts are with them during this awful time,’ she said.
The aircraft was not reported as missing to authorities until four hours after the crash
Bad weather is being investigated as a possible cause of the light plane crash in remote bushland (pictured, police at the scene outside of Lowood)
ATSB Chief Commissioner Angus Mitchell said the bureau was looking at several factors, ‘from the aircraft itself and from the pilot, but equally the weather conditions’.
‘All of those things will be part of the investigation as we try to build a picture of what were the circumstances at the time and what potentially has gone wrong.’
Noah’s sister Bella posted a photo of her brother, father and herself online, captioned with a heart emoji.
‘Three beautiful souls,’ one person wrote, while another said that they were ‘sending lots of hugs and love’.
Gary Liehm (pictured right with famous client Chris Hemsworth) was an experienced pilot
Strachan family friend Pip Murphy remembered Noah as the ‘special young man’ who left a big impression on her family and ‘brought us so much joy’.
‘That infectious cheeky grin, the giggles we shared … I will always be so grateful for your time with us darling boy … Forever an Angel,’ she said.
Tom Strachan founded the mining, construction and agricultural labour-hire firm AWX in 2000, which was sold for a reported $25million in 2016.
According to his LinkedIn profile, he was executive director with investment firm Packhorse.
Pilot Gary Liehm (pictured) was the chief executive officer of Executive Helicopters
In 2021, he donated $500,000 to his former school, Brisbane Grammar, to support regional and Indigenous students.
‘We need to be a school that attracts kids who come from all walks of life. The opportunity of education can spur them on to become leaders and give back to society.
‘That’s why I think bursaries are so important,’ Mr Strachan wrote on LinkedIn at the time.
His son Noah was an analyst at Brisbane real estate and investment company Benstead Holdaway.
Emergency services were called to the scene just outside of Lowood near Fernvale, northwest of Ipswich in Queensland’s southeast on Monday afternoon
Mr Liehm was the CEO of Executive Helicopters and had flown for SeaWorld as well as the Queensland emergency services.
He also flew many celebrity clients, including actor Chris Hemsworth.
An online poster said he know Mr Liehm very well. ‘He was a true gentleman and real character. Always joking but so serious when it came to flying.
‘I’d spent many hours flying with Gary sitting alongside him in his Euro Helicopters, and always felt extremely safe.
‘He was an exceptional pilot and can only think that the plane he was flying failed him.’