Online fundraising has begun for the family of the grandfather and three young children killed in the light plane crash in private property off Brooks Creek Lane near Gundaroo on Friday.
The children had visited the Canberra Zoo and Aquarium on Thursday and had been returning home to Armidale, with their grandfather at the controls, when the aircraft appears to have nosed-dived suddenly into the ground some 16 minutes after taking off from Canberra Airport.
Killed in the crash of the Cirrus single-engine five-seater SR22 were Raphael, 11, Evita, 9, and six-year-old Philomena Smith, as well as pilot Peter Nally, their grandfather.
The family has requested privacy as they deal with the loss.
"This loss will reverberate through the lives of [their parents] Elise, David, Eamon and Reuben, and Therese, Peter's wife and the children's grandmother," Kristin Boyle, the fundraiser's organiser, says in the accompanying statement.
"The Nally and Smith extended families are forever changed by having known these wonderful people, little and big."
Investigators from the Air Transport Safety Bureau are attempting to determine the cause of the crash, which appears to have occurred with little or no glide time.
The fundraiser, which has nearly 400 donations already, was being coordinated by the family friend "to help the family with the costs inevitable over the coming months, and to allow them time together to find strength as they forge a path so completely unexpected".
"The joy they brought to our lives cannot be undone," the page says.
"They [the three children] were wildly imaginative, clever, fun and compassionate.
"After spending Thursday 5th October at the zoo, the kids spent the evening engaged in an hours-long game of make-believe, saving animals from poachers inside an elaborate lounge room cubby.
"All three were passionate Penrith Panthers supporters, and raised the roof on their Armidale home on Sunday night watching their team's miraculous win!
"Raphael, Evita and Philomena loved to read, create works of art and play sport, to help out their adored Mum and Dad, and play with their little brothers and cousins.
"They were happy kids who knew, every day, how much they were loved.
"Dave and Elise appreciate the love and care and generosity of you all, but remain, as all who know them will attest, humble in their needs".
The plane took off at around 2.36pm local time on Friday, according to flight data tracking.
The ATSB said in a statement that it would seek to interview any witnesses and involved parties, and collect relevant recorded information "including flight tracking data, as well as pilot and aircraft maintenance records, and weather information".
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