Hundreds gather to farewell KI father, son

Tim Dornin
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DICK AND CLAYTON LANG FUNERAL

Dick and Clayton Lang have been remembered "as larger than life" at their Adelaide funeral service

Outback pilot and adventurer Dick Lang and his youngest son Clayton, a skydiver, racing driver and plastic surgeon, have been remembered as "larger than life" as hundreds gathered to pay tribute to the pair who died fighting the Kangaroo Island bushfires.

The funeral home in Adelaide's northeast was filled beyond capacity on Friday, with many forced to watch from outside.

Eldest son Derek Lang described his father as a "force of nature" who had a deep love for Australia.

"I'm glad that he was able to live his life, doing what he loved on his terms, for as long as he did," Derek said.

'My younger brother took a page out of that book and did the same."

Second son Justin said his father was a pioneer for much of his life.

"He was decisive, a man of action. He was educated, innovative, passionate and personable," he said.

"Desert Dick Lang always seemed larger than life."

Mr Lang, 78, and his 43-year-old son died on January 3 when their car became engulfed in flames near Gosse.

The pair had been helping fight the bushfires raging on Kangaroo Island for several days and were returning the family's hobby farm when they became trapped.

Justin Lang said the property on Kangaroo Island was a "special place".

"The farm was an escape, a sanctuary," he said.

Mr Lang's three surviving sons all told the gathering of how, after beginning his working life as a teacher, their father built up his business taking tourists into the Australian outback and further afield, including such places as Papua New Guinea and Africa.

A highly regarded plastic surgeon, Clayton was also remembered as a talented racing driver and champion skydiver.

Youngest son Lachlan Lang said his father had "lived life to the fullest".

"He saw a niche and made a career out of doing something that he loved. He opened up the outback to so many people over his 50-odd years of running tours.

"I'll be forever grateful for him instilling in me a sense of adventure and an appreciation of the wonders of nature."

Lachlan said even his father's death was extraordinary and he still could not quite believe it.

"I hope with all these fires that people will heed the call and holiday in affected areas and put tourist dollars into these fire-ravaged communities," he said.

"I'm sure dad would have agreed."

Lachlan said his older brother Clayton had also enjoyed "taking life to the extreme" as evidenced by his love of fast cars and jumping out of planes.

"You could say he died as he lived," he said.

"I'm sure that pedal was to the metal in their hasty retreat from the fire and that the adrenalin was pumping.

"But it was a race they tragically lost.

"There are so many questions we'll never know the answers to, but perhaps we can take some small comfort in the knowledge that Clarrie definitely lived a full life in his 43 years.

"He not only sucked the marrow out of life, he then gave a dog that bone and went back for seconds, and maybe some dessert too."