Residents in the small farming community of Raywood always liked looking up at little planes in the sky and wondering if it was local farmer James Cartwright flying high.
Yesterday, those same farmers were realising they would never wonder again, after the father, husband, CFA volunteer and hobby pilot was crushed under a post hole driver on his farm just before 10am.
Mr Cartwright had been out working on a fence with his neighbour when a piece of equipment gave way, sending the heavy metal object crashing down on top of him.
His friend and local emergency services worked to save the man, aged in his 40s, but nothing could be done and he died at the scene.
“He was a hardworking farmer and a good dad and husband,” neighbour and old friend Geoff Nankivell told the Herald Sun.
“It’s just such a shock.
“You never know when it’s your time to go.”
Mr Cartwright was a member of the Raywood CFA — one of the many things he had done over the years to serve his adoptive community.
He moved to the area north of Bendigo more than two decades ago when he fell in love with local Lynda Cartwright.
The two of them took over Lynda’s family farm on Pyramid-Yarraberb Rd and were raising their kids there.
Some of the volunteers he had served with at fires, crashes and accidents were the first on the scene yesterday and the death hit them hard.
“They did everything they could to save him,” a CFA volunteer told the Herald Sun.
“It’s always hard for the volunteers.”
The farmer was known for his love of flying by others in the community.
He would take up a little plane and look down over the farms of canola, wheat and sheep below.
“I’d always look up at the little planes and wonder if it was James,” a neighbour said.
“Now I won’t have to wonder.
“What is going to happen to the farm?
“He’s young. He’s got a young family.”
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WorkSafe attended the property yesterday as part of their investigation into the death.
“It is believed the farmer was using machinery when an attachment failed, causing the equipment to fall on him,” a WorkSafe Victoria spokesman said.
Thirteen people have died on Victorian worksites this year compared with 11 at the same time last year.