SES Volunteer's Association of Western Australia Incorporated

“Together we can; Together we will”

15/07/2011 – SES Volunteers involved with glider crash Albany WA Update

Adverse weather conditions prevented SES Volunteers from retrieving the body of a pilot who died in a glider crash near Albany on Western Australia’s south-coast.

43 year-old Alf Roach was on a gliding trip with the Beverley Soaring Society when his aircraft crashed at Bluff Knoll, about 80 kilometres from Albany.  SES Volunteers were at the crash site for several hours today and will resume their attempts to retrieve Mr Roach’s body tomorrow.  The Beverley Soaring Society’s Tom Holt says there will be an inquiry into the incident.

“What happens is we hand it over to our governing body which is the Gliding Federation of Australia and they in turn will be under the control of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, they will do the investigation,” he said.  Mr Holt said one of glider’s wings malfunctioned causing the aircraft to descend rapidly.

He says members of the society who witnessed the accident have described the crash as harrowing.  “It was very harrowing, because it’s a close community, we’re only a small membership and everybody knows everybody so those members when they reached the scene were very distressed,” he said.

Saturday Update

The body of a man killed in a gliding crash near Albany has been recovered after being stranded in dangerous terrain since Thursday.  It took a team of more than 20 SES Volunteers about six hours to recover Alfred Rosche’s body which was lying almost a kilometre above sea level near the summit of Bluff Knoll.

Albany Police Acting Sergeant Robert Du Toit praised the brave efforts of the SES volunteers who battled rain and icy temperatures to return his body to the Stirling Ranges car park just after 4pm.  “It was pretty successful in the conditions,” he said.  “It was difficult to get down there because of the rain and all that.

“It’s one of the highest peaks in WA… so it was a bit of a dangerous and a tricky one but it all was good.”  Sgt Du Toit said the workers took it in turns to carry the 43-year-old’s body down the peak on a stretcher. Mr Rosche was killed when his glider crashed 300m below the summit of Bluff Knoll on Thursday afternoon.