“Deeply saddened” friends, family and associates mourn a “proud” and “generous” businessman who died on Sunday alongside an associate and his two children in a light plane crash north of Brisbane.
Robert “Roy” Watterson, 67, was piloting the light aircraft which crashed into the sea at the end of a runway at Redcliffe airfield just after 9:00 am.
Mr Watterson and his three passengers – Chris Mocanu, a 41-year-old man in Brisbane, his 10-year-old daughter and 9-year-old son – were all killed.
The aircraft, a four-seater Rockwell International, is registered in Mr. Watterson’s name at his home in Wamuran.
The plane wreckage was recovered from the ocean approximately 24 hours after the crash.
Mr. Mocanu was an employee of the Lincom Group, which Mr. Watterson founded over 25 years ago.
The Lincom group today released a statement paying tribute to the two men.
“We are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of Roy Watterson, our President and Founder, as well as Chris Mocanu, our National Rental Fleet Coordinator and his two children,” the statement read.
“The loss was deeply felt throughout the Lincom team.
“Roy started Lincom over 25 years ago and has watched it grow and develop over the years.
“Roy passed on the CEO’s reigns… several years ago, but was always there to offer advice and perspectives.
“Chris had been with Lincom for a relatively short period of time, but quickly settled in, developed several strong business relationships and made the position his own.
“We have been very privileged to work with Roy and Chris, and they will be sorely missed.”
“Roy was a family matter”
Friends and colleagues have paid tribute to Mr Watterson, with tributes online remembering him as a “great person,” “a good pal” and a “respected” colleague.
Mr. Watterson founded the Lincom Group – an industrial equipment supply company – in 1994.
The multi-million dollar business remains family owned and operates in Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and the Pacific Islands.
“More than anything, Roy was a family affair,” said an article by Lincom business associates, Powerscreen.
“The start of any call was to share stories about the family and what all the kids were doing.
“He was so proud of all of his children.
“Roy was a great personage who was widely admired and respected within the Powerscreen family around the world.”
Townsville Mendi Group, another of Lincom’s partners, remembered Mr. Watterson as “one of a kind.”
“The flags in Mendi are at half mast today as a sign of respect,” a Facebook post said.
“Our sincere thoughts and prayers are with [Mr Watterson’s family].
“Vale Roy Watterson, you were one of a kind and you will never be forgotten.”
Friends have also posted tributes remembering Mr. Watterson as a “gentleman”.
“He was a good pal… an extremely generous man,” said another post.
“His passion in life was to fly and would spend hours on flights to somewhere in the world where he was just piloting his own plane.”
Accident investigation in progress
The Australian Transportation and Safety Board (ATSB) has launched a safety investigation into the crash.
An ATSB summary of the crash said the plane “would be back at the airfield” when it crashed into the sea.
The ATSB said investigators are currently collecting evidence to determine the cause of the crash.
The evidence will be reviewed by specialists in aircraft maintenance and operations.
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 affected parties, so that appropriate safety action can be taken,” ATSB said.