An 11-year-old Murwillumbah girl was killed and two men were injured after the light plane they were flying in hit power lines and crashed into a nearby river at Ewingar south-west of Casino on Saturday afternoon.
The pilot, aged 53, from Goonengerry, suffered minor injuries but managed to free himself from the wreckage and help the 34-year-old father of the girl to shore before trekking four kilometres to a farmhouse to alert authorities.
The flight was returning to Murwillumbah from a day trip to Tenterfield, following a route above the Clarence River, before striking low-lying power lines across the river.
Police, SES and ambulance paramedics rushed to the crash scene and the injured father was winched by the Westpac rescue helicopter to Lismore Base Hospital. The girl was pronounced dead at the scene.
The father was in a serious condition at the hospital where the pilot was treated for his injuries.
The crash happened around 11am near Ewingar Ridge Road, Ewingar, about 85km south-west of Casino.
Police say a crime scene has been established and will be examined by specialist forensic officers while an investigation into the cause of the crash is being conducted by the Australian Transportation Safety Bureau.
A report will also be prepared for the the Coroner.