Pilot's ADHD contributed to crash
THE GRANDMOTHER of the pilot who was one of two men who died in an ultralight crash at Tatham in 2010 has told a coronial inquest her grandson's ADHD contributed to their death.
Michael O'Keefe and his passenger Josef Hainaut died on a return trip to Casino from Lismore when their ultralight crashed into a paddock on May 7, 2010.
Patricia O'Keefe said her grandson Michael was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) when he was aged four. She described him as "a law unto himself" and "a handful" due to ADHD which he had been unmedicated for since he was six.
"I do think that ADHD did contribute to Michael and Josef's death and my doctor does too," she said.
"I do believe Michael and Josef died because of Michael's impulsive behaviour."
Mrs O'Keefe told the court there were now draft regulations put in place by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) regarding pilots with ADHD.
The court heard Mr O'Keefe's licence was never suspended but after he was spoken to about performing illegal manoeuvres in February 2009 he did not fly for about 12 months.
The man responsible for police investigations into aviation fatalities, Chief Inspector Hurley, said he was in no doubt that if the engine had failed Mr O'Keefe would have had the skills to land the ultralight.
Mrs Hainaut's solicitor David Evenden said the family would like to see changes in the requirements for scheduled maintenance, for which the onus currently falls on the pilot, through changes in regi- stration guidelines for recreational aircraft.
Mr Evenden and Coroner's Assistant Sgt Rowe retired at 3pm to consider their recommendations for the Coroner.
Coroner Jeff Linden will hand down his recommendations today.