Leanne, Taylee and Tim White.
Leanne, Taylee and Tim White. Contributed

Woman loses daughter, then husband in plane crash

ONLY months after losing her youngest daughter to a rare disease, Leanne White now has to come to terms with life without her husband.

Tim, 53, who Mrs White described as her "soul mate", was the sole occupant of an ultralight aircraft that crashed at about 7.35am on Sunday near the Gregory Highway, 15km south of Emerald.

The couple had three children together - Coby, 32, Taylee, 28, and Matthew, 27.

However they lost Taylee last year to a rare condition called pseudo- Hirschsprung's disease, being born without a bowel and stomach.

Taylee was the only person in Australia to be diagnosed with the condition and the only one in the world to live as long as she did.

She went to school, drove her car, had a job, and her parents were both extremely proud of her.

"Tim always teased the kids," Mrs White said.

"With Taylee, she would give back as good as she got.

"They would just bounce off each other, and now I think she'll be giving him curry up there."

Tim and granddaughter Georgia at Christmas, 2017.
Tim and granddaughter Georgia at Christmas, 2017. Contributed

With the love and support of his family, Mr White was a complete hobby enthusiast.

He put aside the restoration project of a vintage Harley-Davidson motorcycle to pursue his latest passion - an ultralight plane.

Weeks of research were put in and when he finally found a plane he loved, he drove all the way to Victoria, brought it back, put it together and had it inspected.

Mr White had been taking lessons and flying for about six months before he took a short break, but was getting back into it in the past three months.

However his dream of becoming a pilot, which was only hours of flight time away, will not become a reality.

Tim White was the sole occupant of an ultralight aircraft (not pictured) when it crashed on Sunday, January 14.
Tim White was the sole occupant of an ultralight aircraft (not pictured) when it crashed on Sunday, January 14.

"He was going so good on this bike, restoring it, and then the plane came out of nowhere," Mrs White said.

"He loved it. He would just go out every morning.

"To me it looked like something you sit here and remote control.

"He's six foot three, so you can imagine him in it.

"He had to put a lot of work into it.

"I said 'just buy something that looks like a plane and that you don't have to put work into', but he said, 'no, no, it's all right'."

The wreckage of Tim White's ultralight aircraft, which fatally crashed south of Emerald on Sunday.
The wreckage of Tim White's ultralight aircraft, which fatally crashed south of Emerald on Sunday. Contributed

The couple moved to Emerald in May 2015, following through on another of Mr White's ambitious plans.

They had lived in Tamworth for years and this time Mr White had a desire to own his own pub, caravan park or motel.

Mrs White said they looked at a few different properties but found the Emerald Motel Apartments "at the right time and at the right price, so that was it", and it brought them closer than ever.

Leanne ant Tim White take part in a 2016 Poker Run in Emerald.
Leanne ant Tim White take part in a 2016 Poker Run in Emerald. Jessica Dorey

"It was a three-to five-year plan," she said.

"We knew we weren't going to get rich from it, but it pays the bills and it's just a different lifestyle.

"Being here, you are together all the time.

"You hear people say, 'oh, I couldn't work with my husband', but it has never been a problem.

"He was my best friend.

"There wasn't much time that we were apart. We were soul mates."

The couple were friends since they were three years old and began their romance in high school, which lasted two years before they moved apart and lost touch.

They both lived their own lives and marriages, but years later were reunited and rekindled their love on a trip back to their home town - and as they say, the rest was history.

"We just met again and were married in 1995," Mrs White said.

"Our family and friends said 'oh, it's about time you two got your act together'."

With three grown children, Mr and Mrs White bonded over their love for Harley motorcycles, outdoor activities and adventure.

"We both had Harleys and we've travelled a little bit over the last couple of years," Mrs White said.

"Vietnam, Cambodia, we've just come back from China.

"We even had a trip in a few months booked for Borneo, trekking through the jungle.

"He'll do anything.

"He even bought a little catamaran.

"We would just go out to the dam and four hours would go by before you knew it.

"He's a Ford man, through and through.

"He loved his toys - boys and their toys!"

Mr White was loved by his wife, children, family and friends.

His children and grandchildren idolised him and will miss him dearly.

"He would do anything for anybody," Mrs White said.

"He just loved life, loved the kids, the family, our life together."

The crash is still under investigation.


CQ towns plummet to single digits as cold snap sweeps region

CQ towns plummet to single digits as cold snap sweeps region

Parts of CQ to hit 4C, Rocky to see coldest day of the year.

Watchdog for council corruption announced

Watchdog for council corruption announced

New assessor will deal with council conduct complaints

Adani mega-mine opponent hit with costs bill

Adani mega-mine opponent hit with costs bill

Another setback for man battling Adani

Local Partners