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Johnson Makuei Manga was on his way to fill a roster shortage when the aircraft he was in came down.
His second cousin, Thomas Maker, said he has a young family and they have been “overwhelmed” by the news.
“We are in a deep state of shock about what has happened” he said.
“He’s not just a great Australian nurse who has been serving for the last 15 years in different hospitals, especially in Perth, but he has also been a great community leader, a towering figure in the African community,” he said.
“This is a huge loss and he will be remembered and dearly missed in all that he as doing in our community.”
The registered nurse was on his way to fill a drastic staff shortage in Halls Creek when the Beechcraft Baron 58 plane crashed in Kununurra, just outside East Kimberley Airport, while trying to land.
It was to be the 52-year-old’s first posting in remote WA.
Health Officials said they were “devastated to have lost a colleague and a friend”, while applauding staff at Kununurra Hospital who worked to stabilise the pilot.
Premier Mark McGowan also thanked the community after the tragedy.
“I want to acknowledge the important work those involved in the crash were doing to keep the Kimberley community safe during the pandemic,” he said.
The surviving pilot, a 19-year-old man, is fighting to recover from severe burns.
He was flown by the Royal Flying Doctor Service to Darwin Hospital and is in a serious but stable condition.