Grant Burley and companion killed in plane crash near Johns River

TRAGIC SCENE: The wreckage of the plane beside the Pacific Highway near Johns River.
TRAGIC SCENE: The wreckage of the plane beside the Pacific Highway near Johns River.

The man who died in a plane crash near Johns River was a businessman who had a property with a private landing strip nearby.

Sydney businessman Grant Burley and his female companion were killed when Cessna 310 he was flying crashed into bush between the Pacific Highway and the train track, near his rural property, on Saturday October 28 just after 4pm.

READ MORE: Two die in light plane crash at Johns River | video

Drivers on the highway contacted police, and emergency services were on the scene quickly; they found the bodies of Mr Burley and his female companion inside the light plane.  There was no-one else on board.  Mr Burley had flown the plane from Toowoomba in Queensland.

Businessman Grant Burley died when his plane crashed just beside the Pacific Highway at Middle Brother near his rural property at Johns River.  His girlfriend was also killed.

Businessman Grant Burley died when his plane crashed just beside the Pacific Highway at Middle Brother near his rural property at Johns River. His girlfriend was also killed.

His family described Mr Burley as an exceptional pilot who was loved by many people.

“All I can say is may he fly high above us all as an angel,” his nephew Lucas Young said.

Mr Burley’s Sydney-based firm, Burley, White & Co described him as a passionate pilot, holding multi- engine fixed wing and rotorcraft licenses. 

The plane came down in bush just beside the Pacific Highway.

The plane came down in bush just beside the Pacific Highway.

He had ferried many aircraft, and crossed all major oceans, often solo in single engine aircraft.

The company website says he spent 30 years in the financial services sector and held such positions as Chief General Manager of Allianz, Managing Director and Founder of Pacific Premium Funding (Pacific).

The crash happened at Middle Brother near Johns River.

The crash happened at Middle Brother near Johns River.

Mr Burley was on insurance advisory boards to the NSW and QLD governments and was a key advisor to the Australian and New Zealand governments in relation to anti-money laundering legislation as it related to insurance premium funding.

He was a past president of the Insurance Premium Funding Association of Australia, he owned a residential village, and leased specialty aircraft to the New Zealand Government.

Three investigators from the Australian Transportation Safety Bureau began work on Sunday October 29 to try find out what caused the crash.

“The investigators will examine the wreckage; gather any available recorded data and interview witnesses,” ATSB said in a statement.

The investigation will continue on Monday.  

A preliminary investigation report is expected to be released in about 30 days but a final report may take up to a year.