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Irish woman (21) in serious plane crash in Australia 'out of coma and talking to people'

By Denise Calnan

A young Irish woman who was involved in a serious plane crash in eastern Australia is "out of a coma and talking to people", according to the pilot who attended the scene of the accident.

The 21-year-old woman, who has not been named in the media, was critically injured after the small tourist plane crashed into sand dunes at Middle Island, by Agnes Water, on January 10.

The small plane was one of two which were flying a group of tourists to the remote spot for a camping trip.

The crash left a 29-year-old UK woman dead and three others were airlifted to hospital, two in a critical condition.

Now, tour operator and pilot Bruce Rhoades told Australian media that the young Irish woman is "talking to people", but she may possibly have a brain injury.

Queensland Police could not confirm the reported update on the Irish woman's current condition, but said the investigation into the incident is still underway.

Earlier this month, a spokesperson said preliminary information was "suggesting something along the lines of engine failure".

They also confirmed that the young woman had been transferred to a specialist unit at a hospital in Brisbane.

According to local reports, the Queensland Ambulance Service said two planes were flying together when the one in front went down.

The incident was witnessed by the passengers on the plane behind.

Mr Rhoades told News-Mail that the pilot of the crashed plane Les 'Woody' Woodall is doing "far better than anyone expected".

He also said Jesse Lonnon, the 13-year-old boy who was injured in the crash, broke both his ankles and would be in a wheelchair for the next six weeks.

Since re-opening the tour after the crash, Mr Rhoades said he has closed one camp to reduce the work loads and was "not as trusting" of his planes anymore.

"The odds of this happening again are astronomical but [the crash] has made me more conscious and I've changed the flight path of the tour so we're always within gliding distance of the beach," he said.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau are due to provide an update to their investigation.

Irish Independent

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