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Wed, Aug 17, 2011

Two Lost In Angel Flight Crash

Australian Pilot Was Veteran Of 24 Flights For The Charity

Family and friends in Northwest Victoria, Australia are mourning a 15-year-old girl lost in the crash of an Angel Flight mission, and the 69-year-old pilot who died trying to serve her family's needs. The girl's mother was the only survivor of the crash, and remains hospitalized with serious injuries.

The Herald-Sun reports the teen, Jacinda Twigg, was being transported home from her last hospital treatment for debilitating juvenile arthritis when the pilot, Don Kernot, ran into bad weather. The Piper PA-28-180 came down in a paddock in Wallup, near Horsham. Weather was said to be rainy, but not violent. Kernot reportedly had 800 hours logged, was night-rated, and had flown 24 previous Angel Flight missions.

Len Twigg, Jacinda's father, said she was returning from her last visit for treatment, and traveled by Angel Flight because she was too fragile to cope with long car trips.

Jacinda's mother, 43-year-old Julie Ann Twigg, is reported to have suffered head, chest and rib injuries. She remained in a coma Tuesday, but it was not stated whether it was medically induced.

Of his daughter, Len Twigg told the Herald-Sun, "She was my best friend. We’d go and do things together. She’d always come with Dad, if I went down the street she’d come. She was a very special girl, the world is going to miss her. Her friends will just be shattered."

The Twiggs have three other children.

Angel Flight's Bill Bristow said the girl and her mother flew with the charity every three months, and were on their 20th flight. Of the accident he commented to ABC Radio, "It was our nightmare scenario. Angel Flight has now helped or flown more than 11,000 missions of this sort with volunteer pilots and never an accident or an incident, so this has come as a dreadful shock to us."

FMI: www.angelflight.org.au

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