SYDNEY (AP) — A 69-year-old seaplane that crashed, killing the pilot and his passenger, in front of thousands of onlookers during an aerial display above the city of Perth had flown from the United States to Australia in recent years, an official said Friday.
Owner and pilot Peter Anthony Lynch, 52, and his Indonesian partner Endah Cakrawati, 30, were alone in the 1948 Grumman G-73 Mallard flying boat when it crashed into the Swan River on Thursday to the horror of up to 60,000 witnesses who were gathering to watch an annual fireworks display. The fireworks to celebrate Australian Day were cancelled.
The plane was part of an airshow and many onlookers thought it was performing a stunt when it crashed.
Perth Mayor Lisa Scaffidi said Lynch had "remodeled" the twin-engine plane and had flown it across the United States then across the Pacific Ocean to Australia.
"Who would have figured that it would ... be ultimately part of the end of his life," Scaffidi told reporters.
Lynch bought the plane in 2011 in the United States and flew it to Australia the following year after a mechanical rebuild, The West Australian newspaper reported.
Investigators have not given a reason for the accident.