At the request of the family, there will be no coronial inquest into the tragic death of respected photographer and retailer Tim Jones, who his friends and family lost in a light plane crash alongside pilot Sam Langford in 2014.
Tim (right) was capturing aerial photos of the Sydney-Hobart Yacht race when the pilot crashed the Cessna 172 into Storm Bay, south of Hobart on December 29, 2014.
Coroner Simon Cooper was willing to hold the inquest into both deaths, as they were deemed a preventable workplace accident, but said the crash had been sufficiently investigated.
The deaths were attributed to pilot error.
‘I note that the senior next of kin of both deceased men requested no inquest be held. I am satisfied that it would not be contrary to the public interest or the interests of justice if an inquest were not held,’ Cooper told Tasmanian paper The Mercury.
‘Several factors influenced this decision, including that the crash … was comprehensively investigated by Tasmania Police, so comprehensively that I formed the view that no additional material was likely to be uncovered as a result of … an inquest. Finally, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau also conducted an investigation … and the report they eventually produced was publicly available.’
Prior to the crash the Cessna 172 was flying just 15 metres above the ocean. Airlines of Tasmania aircraft are not permitted to fly lower than 45 metres above obstacles. However the Australian Transport Safety Bureau released a report last year which found the low flying ‘was not likely to have contributed to the accident’.
The plane entered a spin after a steep climbing turn, which Langford had not been trained to do. The plane stalled and nosedived into the ocean, the report claims.
The report found that Airlines of Tasmania often conducted low-level flying operations to photograph yachts. Following the crash, the airline ended this practice and ‘extensively changed’ its safety management system.
Family sues airline
Court documents filed by the Jones’ family against Airlines of Tasmania claim the death caused them ‘nervous shock, pain and suffering, and loss of future earnings’.
The Fatal Accidents Act allows families to recover damages for a death caused by a ‘wrongful act, neglect or default’.
A directions hearing was held in the Supreme Court in April, and the case is likely to proceed later this year.
Tim Jones was a held in high regard and affection throughout the Australian photographic community.