EMOTIONS have run high in a tearful memorial to three people killed a year ago in Australia’s worst skydiving tragedy at Mission Beach.
Wild thunderstorms and strong winds conspired against plans to scatter the ashes of skydiving instructor Peter Dawson in an aerial tribute by his father Bob and fellow staff of Mission Beach Skydiving.
But in true north Queensland style, with a dinghy full of ice and beer on the beach, a large crowd gathered today to honour local mother-of-eight Kerri Pike, 54, Mr Dawson, 35, and solo instructor Toby Turner, 34.
Mrs Pike’s husband Alister unveiled the “living memorial” of a family-sized daybed for public use next to her favourite spot on the palm-fringed sands of north Mission Beach overlooking Dunk Island.
In a poignant note, the daybed is just a few hundred metres down the road from where the three crashed to Earth after a fatal mid-air collision on October 13 last year.
Mr Turner’s parents were warmly supported by the tight-knit community, which has rallied behind the families.
“To say it has been a difficult year is an understatement,’’ Mr Pike said.
He paid heartfelt tribute to the support of the local community and his two youngest children.
“They have built me as a man, they have been so strong,’’ he said.
The five-day inquest into the triple skydiving fatality starts in Cairns Coroners Court on November 26.