In March, Cleve resident Phillip Turner was on Grant Gilbert’s plane on his way to Adelaide.
Last week, the plane was a mangled wreck in a Mount Gambier paddock.
The crash in Mount Gambier killed Mr Gilbert, a Mount Barker businessman, and his passengers, 16-year-old Emily Redding and her 43-year-old mother Tracy from Mount Gambier.
Mr Turner said he first met Mr Gilbert when his social worker organised an Angel Flight from Cleve Airport to Adelaide for specialist counselling.
“I have nothing for praise for the man, he was a very kind and lovely man,” Mr Turner said.
“During the flight, he told me stories about his hometown, Mount Barker, and his business.”
Mr Turner first saw the crash on the news and recognised the plane’s registration number.
“When I realised that was the plane I had been on, I was absolutely shocked,” Mr Turner said.
“I just couldn’t believe that the plane that had transported me to Adelaide was now a mangled wreck.”
Mr Turner put a tribute on Facebook after hearing the news.
He said the Angel Flight, his first with the organisation, was amazing, and Mr Gilbert’s service made it a lot better.