Family pays tribute to loving dad, son

Tim EdmundsAlbany Advertiser

The father of pilot Sam Ferns, who was tragically killed when his light plane crashed into bushland in Redmond in October, says his son will be remembered for his loyalty and the love he showed his children.

Geoff Ferns gave the touching tribute to his son at a memorial service at Muttonbird Beach on December 10 attended by mother Margaret, sisters Emily and Jane, and brother Matthew.

The family travelled from Victoria for the service organised by Mr Ferns’ friends and workmates in Albany.

The 40-year-old was set to begin another bushfire season working as a water-bomber pilot for the Parks and Wildlife service when he crashed en route to Bunbury, 45 minutes into his journey.

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Father Geoff Ferns said his son had committed to another season working in Albany despite the pain of being away from his children, Dylan and Lily.

“One of Sam’s big attributes was loyalty,” he said.

“The reason he committed to this season in Albany was loyalty.

“It was a hard but at the same time an easy decision for him.”

Pilots Gary Lanigan, Wayne Black and Sam Ferns.
Camera IconPilots Gary Lanigan, Wayne Black and Sam Ferns. Credit: Pi Edmunds, Tim Edmund

Mr Ferns said his son would have turned 41 on Christmas Eve.

“The most important thing to Sam was Dylan and Lily, but circumstances made that so difficult,” he said.

“He struggled with being separated from them and looked forward to school holidays when they could be together.

“To see Sam with Dylan and Lily was a joy in itself.

“I do not remember anyone who got so much out of the time spent with their children.”

Mr Ferns said the family’s visit to Albany was supposed to bring Sam’s children over for the school holidays.

“Sam had a lot more living to do with his children, his wider family and his friends,” he said.

“It is ironic that in an industry that is a bit more dangerous than your average job, he was taken away on what was really just a bus-ride to work.

“It was never expected, even in our worst bad dream.”

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