Tributes poured in for a Northern Irish businessman who died in a plane crash in Australia, which also left a work colleague and two children dead.
obert ‘Roy’ Watterson (67), originally from east Belfast, was flying the light aircraft which crashed over the sea near Brisbane. Air accident investigators are investigating how the crash happened last Sunday.
Mr Watterson, who founded industrial supplies company Lincom in 1994 after emigrating to Australia, died in the crash last week along with Chris Mocanu, 41, and the latter’s two children, Lucas (9) and Lavinia (10 years old).
The Northern Irishman, a father of three, was well known in business circles here as the primary distributor in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands for Powerscreen. Mr. Mocanu was a hiring manager for the company.
Catherine Di Blasio, the mother of two, told the Brisbane Courier Mail that the theft was a birthday surprise for her son. She didn’t know the kids were going on the flight.
Powerscreen management paid tribute to Mr. Watterson, describing him as a man of “high and exacting standards” and “the epitome” of the brand in his adopted country.
“After being a reseller for many years, Roy was a formidable character who was widely admired and respected within the Powerscreen family around the world,” the company said in a social media statement.
“Roy had very high and exacting standards and was the epitome of the Powerscreen brand in his adopted home region.
“This determination to only accept the best is what has led Lincom Group to offer the best customer support in the industry, to have hundreds of loyal customers and to be a multiple award-winning reseller, including the global reseller of the Powerscreen year on several occasions.
“He was a very proud man. He was proud of his Northern Irish roots and loved to bring Australian and New Zealand customers back to the factory every two years around the Hillhead exhibit – most recently he was preparing for the 2022 visit.
“He was proud of his business, still family-owned and thriving under the watchful eye of his sons Stephen and Mark, his daughter Lindsey and his beloved partner Jan.
“More than anything, Roy was about family. The start of any calling was to share stories about family and what all the kids did.
“With the arrival of all new baby Powerscreen, Roy Watterson’s trademark Koala teddy bear was not far behind, a very thoughtful gift from across the world.”
In a statement, the Lincom Group said the loss of the two children, Mr Watterson and Mr Mocanu, had been deeply felt throughout the team.
“Roy started Lincom over 25 years ago and has watched it grow and develop over the years,” the company said. “Roy took over as CEO… several years ago, but was always there to offer advice and perspectives.”
The company added, “His career has been fueled by passion and integrity. Her charming personality and unitedthat friendliness has turned customers into good friends. Her big heart was an inspiration to all of us. “
Tributes poured in from friends and colleagues, with tributes describing Mr. Watterson as a “great person,” “a good pal” and a “respected” colleague, but someone who has always put family first. .
The Australian Transportation and Safety Board (ATSB) has opened an investigation into the crash. An initial report said the plane “would be back at the airfield” when it crashed into the sea.
A preliminary report is expected to be completed in about eight weeks.
“If a critical safety issue is identified during the investigation, ATSB will immediately notify the parties concerned, so that appropriate safety action can be taken,” said ATSB.
In her interview with the Courier Mail, Ms Di Blasio said: “He (Lucas) had a recent birthday in November and his dad told them it was a surprise, a gift, but all he said was is that it was an experience you will love. Until this morning the kids didn’t even know.
Ms Di Blasio, who was estranged from Mr Mocanu, said she was waiting for them for lunch, but when she called her cell phone it came back “out of order”.
“Then I thought they were ringing my doorbell, but when I opened the door there were three detectives from the Child Protection Service and they told me the bad news,” he said. she declared.
“Even the guy had a hard time telling me, he didn’t know what words to use, that was pretty awful.
“When they came to my house, the detectives, I was wrapping the children’s Christmas presents.”