Thu. May 30th, 2024
alert-–-australian-pilot-gary-clarke-from-adelaide-killed-in-a-collision-in-sacramento,-californiaAlert – Australian pilot Gary Clarke from Adelaide killed in a collision in Sacramento, California

An n pilot and father-of-two was killed in a horror collision while attempting to cross a US freeway, just days before he was due to come home to be reunited with his family.

Gary Clarke, 56, from Adelaide, was living and working in Sacramento, California, as a first responder pilot before his life was tragically cut short on May 4.

His wife of 30 years, Karen, only learned of his death last week when she called his workplace after being unable to contact him via phone or email for several days.

Family friend Kylie Payne said Mr Clarke was meant to return to this Saturday.

‘They’re coping as well as can be expected,’ Ms Payne told 7News.

Gary Clarke (pictured), a 56-year-old Adelaide man, was living and working in Sacramento, California when he died in a car crash

Gary Clarke (pictured), a 56-year-old Adelaide man, was living and working in Sacramento, California when he died in a car crash

Mr Clarke's family (pictured with his wife Karen and their kids Lauren and Bailey) only learned of his death last week after contacting his employer

Mr Clarke’s family (pictured with his wife Karen and their kids Lauren and Bailey) only learned of his death last week after contacting his employer

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‘He was a great dad, he worked away to support his family and made sure they had what they needed.

‘He was definitely the life of the party. Everybody liked him, Gary was everybody’s friend. He was really a vivacious person.’

Local media reported Clarke attempted to cross the northbound shoulder of Interstate Five in Natomas when he was hit by a 30-year-old driver at about 3.30am. 

He died at the scene.

Mr Clarke leaves behind daughter Lauren and son Bailey, who are both aged in their 20s.

He was very close with his kids.

Mr Clarke’s heartbroken wife issued a statement on behalf of her family in which she described her husband as ‘larger than life’. 

‘He was the most sociable man I’d ever met, and made friends everywhere he went,’ she said.

Gary Clarke (pictured) has been remembered as 'larger than life' and 'a great dad'

Gary Clarke (pictured) has been remembered as ‘larger than life’ and ‘a great dad’

Ms Clarke said her husband had told his friends: ‘If ever anything happened to him … bring him home to and bury him here in the Adelaide Hills’.

Ms Payne has launched an online fundraiser to help Mr Clarke’s grieving family with the cost of repatriating his body, which is estimated to cost $50,000.

‘It is a difficult and expensive process to bring Gary home,’ she wrote.

‘I am hoping we can raise some money to support the family during this time.

‘The costs to bring a loved one back are a lot more than you think and all costs are paid up front. Gary had limited insurance which will take some time access.’

More than $33,500 has been raised in four days.

Mr Clarke’s funeral is expected to be held sometime next week. 

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