The pilot killed in the crash in Tasmania’s south-west wilderness has been identified as Nikita Walker, police have confirmed.
Ms Walker, 30, a pilot with Par Avion, died when her twin-engine Britten-Norman Islander aircraft crashed near Federation Peak on Saturday morning in poor weather while on a routine run to pick up passengers.
Today, police said the “investigation being jointly undertaken by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau and Tasmania Police is continuing”.
“Our thoughts are with Nikita’s family and her loved ones at this difficult time.”
Ms Walker, originally from Queensland, moved to Tasmania to further her career as a commercial pilot, joining Par Avion in 2016.
On the day she attained her commercial pilot’s licence, a friend wrote: “I have never seen anyone so committed to achieving their goals. She has attained outstanding results in all of her exams and flight tests and should be extremely proud of herself today.”
Reflecting back on achieving her licence one year later, Ms Walker wrote on social media: “One year ago today I completed my commercial pilot licence.
“It took plenty of hard work and I couldn’t have done it without some special people (you know who you are & THANK YOU!)” she wrote.
“But it has all paid off and I am absolutely stoked to be able to say I truly love my job.”
For the past two years, Ms Walker had been flying commercially with Par Avion and featured prominently in the company’s flight training promotional images.
Airlines of Tasmania Managing Director Shannon Wells said his staff and management were in shock over the loss.
“There have been a lot of tears shed by me and our colleagues, we’re a small family business, we train up a lot of our family here and we see the same people every day,” he said.
“She’d learned to fly with us, which is part of why it’s so sad as well. She moved down to Tasmania to become a pilot. She did all [her] training here, [she] was well-versed in Tasmanian flying conditions.”
Mr Wells said Ms Walker had even begun “assisting and checking other pilots with their flying to the south-west”.
Ms Walker’s family have travelled to Hobart on the news of her death.
On Sunday, Tasmania Police told of the efforts to rescue Ms Walker, which involved risking the lives of emergency crews in hazardous conditions at the crash site, 100 metres below the summit at West Portal, near Federation Peak and the Western Arthur Range.
Once it was determined there could be no surviving the “catastrophic event”, rescuers vowed to do what they could to retrieve Ms Walker’s remains from the site and gather forensic evidence from the wreckage.
“It was important to achieve both objectives for the sake of the family and to ensure a greater understanding of the events that contributed to this tragic event,” Inspector Dave Wiss said.