WATCH: Last Turn Out at Rockhampton fire station for Jason

MONDAY: FAMILY and friends will say their last goodbyes to firefighter and CQ youth leader Jason Caswell this morning.

Mr Caswell, a firefighter from Gracemere, was undertaking his last test to getting his pilot's license when the plane he was in crashed at Hedlow Airstrip on November 23.

Funeral details

  • Where: Seventh Day Adventist, 343 Yaamba Rd, Park Avenue
  • When: Monday, 9am
  • Over 500 people expected. The funeral will be streamed live on You Tube (Rockhampton Seventh-day Adventist Church Live)



SATURDAY: IT was meant to be a flight of celebration but its tragic end has left a very large part of the community devastated.

Gracemere firefighter Jason Caswell was undertaking his last test to getting his pilot's license when the plane he was in crashed at Hedlow Airstrip on November 25.

The second pilot killed in the crash was 53-year-old John Cresswell who was the Chief Flight Instructor for Caboolture Microlights and one of the most respected instructors in Australia.

The loss of the 37-year-old father of two has impacted many communities, including Queensland Fire and Emergency Services, the member of the Seventh Day Adventist Church and its youth club Pathfinders.

"We cannot describe the intense shock, devastation and heartache we are all feeling," his father Russell said in a statement issued days after the accident.

"Words cannot express the loss we are all feeling."

The avid outdoors man was off-duty at the time of the crash.

His parents Russell and Diane, along with friend Natasha Salanitri spoke with The Bulletin ahead of Jason's funeral on Monday. (see details below)

They fondly and proudly remembered a man who always had time for people, was always busy living life from spending time with wife Karen and two daughters - Darci, 6, and Madison, 4; was being involved with his church, his work life and helping people in the community.

"He always had the biggest smile," Mrs Salanitri said.

"He always had time for people," Mrs Caswell said.

"Nothing was ever too much trouble," Mrs Salanitri said.

Jason had been involved with Pathfinders, which is the Seventh Day Adventist Church's youth program that is similar to scouts, since he was 10. He had been in Adventurers, the youth group the church members join before Pathfinders, since he was five.

After being a Pathfinder member, he became a leader, went on to becoming a director and was the district director for Central Queensland

"He truly lived life to the full and accomplished so much in his 37 years, much more than many twice his age have done or achieved," Mr Caswell said.

Mrs Caswell said her son inherited his passion for flying from his grandfather - her father.

Jason had been flying off and on throughout the years, but started working towards getting his pilot's license two years ago.

He was born in Wondai, lived in Murgon for a short while until his father joined the Queensland Police and the family moved to Brisbane and onto Bowen about 1987.

He completed graduated Year 12 in Bowen and moved on to do an electrical apprenticeship with De Lacey Electrical Service.

"He was highly regarded at De Lacey's," Mr Caswell said.

It was while Jason was working for De Lacey's that he got a taste of what life would be like fighting fires and saving lives as an auxiliary firefighter.

From there, he had his heart set on joining the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services.

But first, he would meet Karen through church and follow her to Townsville where she moved to study at university.

While the couple were in the far north Queensland city, Jason applied to join the Queensland Ambulance Service and the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services, was accepted to both and he went on to train to be a firefighter full-time.

When Jason was sworn in to QFES in 2005, he was awarded the The Caltex Award - The Outstanding Practical Recruit Firefighter Northern Region.

The same year he was sworn into the QFES, he married Karen.

"He was in the process of doing his studies to become a station officer," Mr Caswell said.

He said Jason, who has been a member of the QFES for the past 11 years, had just completed six-weeks as relieving station officer at Mt Morgan before the tragic accident and had also relieved at Emu Park station.

Mrs Caswell said her son was still doing electrical work for people in the community who needed it.

And when he wasn't helping people, he was trying everything he could that was outdoors - from camping to skydiving, to cave diving, scuba diving, abseiling, flying, fishing, 4WDing, water skiing, snow skiing, helping animals and many many more activities.

He was even learning how to braid his daughters' hair.

Funeral details

  • Where: Seventh Day Adventist, 343 Yaamba Rd, Park Avenue
  • When: Monday, 9am
  • Over 500 people expected. The funeral will be streamed live on You Tube (Rockhampton Seventh-day Adventist Church Live)

Topics:  death plane crash

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