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No survivors at biplane crash site

UPDATE: RESCUE authorities say there are no survivors from the wreckage of the missing vintage biplane discovered near Borumba Dam.

Six bodies were found at the wreckage south of Gympie, authorities said today.

The area was described as a high impact crash site.

"We can confirm the crash site is in the original search zone around the Borumba Dam area,'' an AGL Action Rescue Helicopter spokesman said.

"Two AGL Action Rescue Helicopters have been able to land about 200 metres from the crash site. 

"The helicopter's flight doctor and flight paramedic are currently on scene.

"The charter helicopters have now been released from the search zone, west of Imbil.

"It was sighted by the search aircraft that had been allocated that search area - one of the helicopters,'' Australian Maritime Safety Authority search leader Mke Barton said.

The same area had probably been searched yesterday.

"The scene is 14km northwest of the Borumba Dam wall,'' he said.

"A spotter in a chartered helicopter saw a piece of red or crimson wreckage."

"The plane is not in a condition that you would recognise as a plane.''

"They have hit the ground exceedingly hard and the aircraft is fundamentally destroyed,''  Mr Barton told reporters.

The vintage plane went missing on Monday afternoon after activating its distress beacon.

The plane's pilot, Des Porter, 68, his wife Kath, 61, crewman Les D'evlin, 75, and his 61-year-old wife Janice, and John Dawson, 75, and his 63-year-old wife Carol were onboard.

A rescue team comprised of fifteen helicopter crews had been searching a 1200sq km area of tick bushland between Caboolture, Gympie and Maleny.

The plane and its crew had been returning from a fundraising long weekend at the Monto fly-in show.

The plane was based at Caboolture.

 2.20PM:  EMERGENCY services have discovered a high impact crash site in the search for the missing vintage plane and have begun the search for survivors.

Rescue services announced they had found the crash site of the missing vintage aircraft about 2pm.

Six people were aboard the  De Havilland DH84 Dragon when it disappeared on Monday.

The plane's pilot, Des Porter, 68, his wife Kath, 61, crewman Les D'evlin, 75, and his 61-year-old wife Janice, and John Dawson, 75, and his 63-year-old wife Carol were onboard.

AGL rescue crew at the scene of the plane wreckage near Imbil. There were no survivors.
AGL rescue crew at the scene of the plane wreckage near Imbil. There were no survivors. Channel 9/Twitter

 

Ground search begins for missing

POLICE have started a ground and water search around Borumba Dam in Imbul for missing vintage biplane and six people.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority search and rescue coordination chief Mike Barton said police would begin door knocking residents and talking to campers to gather more information.

They are also looking at the possibility of putting a boat into the water to search the banks.

It is believed there were at least four mobile phones on board the aircraft with telecommunications technicians also being brought in today in an attempt to pinpoint the location of last known communications.

Fifteen helicopters resumed an air search at 7am with 30 pilots, crew and flight paramedics.

The 2040km search area has been expanded north to Widgee Mountain, east to Kenilworth, south to Kilcoy and west over the Brisbane Range.

It has been divided into 66 five by five kilometre squares with each aircraft allocated four squares to search.

The three AGL Action Rescue Helicopters are the only air assets with winch and aeromedical capabilities today.

They've been joined by 13 other chartered helicopters and the Dornier fixed wing overhead is providing communications.

A command centre is now in full operation at the Action Rescue Hangar and a staging area and re-fuelling point is being operated out of the Kenilworth Showgrounds.

15 crews hunt for burnt shell

A BURNT shell may be the only evidence of a vintage aircraft believed to have crashed in the Sunshine Coast hinterland.

Fifteen helicopter crews spent almost 12 hours searching for the De Havilland DH84 Dragon, which disappeared on Monday.

The plane's pilot, Des Porter, 68, his wife Kath, 61, crewman Les D'evlin, 75, and his 61-year-old wife Janice, and John Dawson, 75, and his 63-year-old wife Carol were onboard.

A 1200sq km area of thick bushland between Caboolture, Gympie and Maleny was searched yesterday.

The rescue helicopter crews were tasked by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority to cover 40km by 32km areas inside the grid.

AGL Action Rescue Helicopter chief executive David Donaldson said broken trees and a burnt aircraft could be the only indication of the whereabouts of the plane.

"It depends on the state of the aircraft," Mr Donaldson said.

Des Porter with the restored bi-plane which was used in the 1930s by the Royal Flying Doctor Service, it is one of only four in the world. Photo: Nicola Brander / Caboolture News.
Des Porter with the restored bi-plane which was used in the 1930s by the Royal Flying Doctor Service, it is one of only four in the world. Photo: Nicola Brander / Caboolture News. Nicola Brander

"Broken trees might be a good indication because all they can see at the moment is the tops of trees.

"There is not much point in looking for a red aircraft. It won't look like that now. We are just trying to get as many pairs of eyes up there as possible."

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority sent eight additional helicopters at midday to join the seven already searching.

AMSA's search and rescue Dornier aircraft from Victoria and another fixed-wing aircraft were also tasked to the search area.

Sunshine Coast Police established a major incident room out of the Maroochydore Communications Centre to coordinate a land search.

Sunshine Coast Superintendent Terry Borland said a rescue team would not be sent on foot until a location had been identified.

"Once we have a location where we can deploy our land search capabilities then we will deploy them into that area," Supt Borland said.

"The country is difficult country and we would be looking at the capabilities of the people we would be sending in there.

"We need to first establish a point and there is no point in us rushing off until we can get ourselves some sort of location."

FRONT MAN: Des Porter will fly his Dragon in the front of the Barnstormers Over Brisbane on August 20. Photo Vicki Wood / Caboolture News
FRONT MAN: Des Porter will fly his Dragon in the front of the Barnstormers Over Brisbane on August 20. Photo Vicki Wood / Caboolture News Vicki Wood

The missing aircraft's non-GPS emergency beacon was activated at about 1.30pm on Monday.

AMSA tracked the beacon for almost an hour before communication was lost with Mr Porter and the beacon was no longer detected.

The helicopter search will resume this morning, with crews designated to fly in an opposite direction on the grid from yesterday.

Mr Donaldson said conditions had to be clear for the crews to com

plete the search successfully.

"They have to get very close and that is the difficulty with this search area," he said.

"It is difficult terrain, it is very woody. Even if we flew right across the top of it (the plane), even if you could see down into the trees, you may not be able to see anything on the ground.

"It is a slow search and they need to make sure they do it in a lot of detail to be able to do it properly."

Topics:  biplane des porter emergency services missing police search


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