Body of pilot found in plane wreck

UPDATE at 4:45 PM | THE body of a pilot missing after his vintage plane crashed in waters off the Gold Coast during a joy flight on Wednesday has been found.

Water police located the 52-year-old man’s body in the wreckage of the Yak52 aircraft off the coast of South Stradbroke Island on Thursday afternoon.

Authorities are still searching for a young mother who was also on board the plane when it crashed.


The plane took off from Coombabah about 10am on Wednesday for a 30 minute scenic flight but failed to return.

The pilot was taking a 31-year-old Gold Coast woman, who he knew, on a joy flight for her birthday.

“She was a mother of an 11-year-old daughter and it is actually her birthday today,” Senior Sergeant Notaro told reporters earlier on Thursday morning.

Queensland Police have confirmed the Next of Kin of both the man and the woman have been notified.

EARLIER at 10:30 AM (by Rebecca Dakin) | THE PILOT of a vintage plane is feared dead off the Gold Coast, along with a young mother he was taking on a joy flight to celebrate her birthday.

Police have confirmed they have found a large amount of debris, believed to belong to the Yak 52 aircraft, which disappeared while on a 30-minute scenic flight on Wednesday morning.

“Just before 5.00pm yesterday, a small amount of debris was found on the coastline of South Stradbroke Island. This has been identified as being consistent with the missing plane. Since that time, we have located further debris,” Senior Sergeant Jay Notaro told reporters on Thursday morning.

The pilot has been revealed as a 52-year-old Dutch national who was a resident of the Gold Coast. Police admit they have been having difficultly getting in contact with his family in Holland to let them known what happened.

The pilot was taking a 31-year-old Gold Coast woman, who he knew, on a joy flight as a celebration.

“She was a mother of an 11-year-old daughter and it is actually her birthday today,” Senior Sergeant Notaro added.

“The pilot was known to her and was providing that flight for her as part of her birthday celebration.”

Queensland Police, along with PolAir, divers, Surf Life Saving Queensland and other agencies will continue searching a large area off South Stradbroke Island today but they admit conditions are making retrievals difficult.

“We are continuing the search for the plane and its passengers.”

“We have got resources from everywhere that we are pulling in. There is always hope and we are acting upon that hope right now and trying to get some answers for both the families involved.”

They have also appealed for anyone who has information, witnessed the plane or spots debris to come forward.

“We would like the public to steer clear of the search area,” Sgt Notaro said.
“Anyone who locates any debris is asked not to touch it.”

EARLIER at 7:00 AM (by Rebecca Dakin) | Police are resuming their search for a vintage plane missing from the Gold Coast this morning.

Some debris has reportedly been found off South Stradbroke Island yesterday afternoon.

Boats, jet skis and rescue helicopters spent hours searching the plane’s flight path near the island, after the aircraft was reported missing around 1.15pm.

Two people are believed to have been on board the Yak 52, a Soviet era training aircraft, a 52 year old man (the pilot), and a 31-year-old woman.

Police have confirmed they will will continue an air, sea and land search today for the plane with the assistance of Polair and the Westpac helicopter, jet skis, all-terrain vehicles, police vessels and volunteer marine rescue groups.

Specialised underwater sonar equipment will also be utilised by police to search for the aircraft.

During yesterday’s search, four people were rescued after they were spotted in the water by a helicopter.

The group was reportedly swept off their fishing boat.

One was winched to safety, while the others were rescued by water police.

The search for the missing aircraft and its two occupants resumes this morning.

5:30 PM Wednesday, June 5 | AUTHORITIES are frantically searching for a small vintage plane, feared to have crashed in waters off the Gold Coast.

The Australian Marine Safety Authority has confirmed it is co-ordinating the search for the aircraft in the vicinity of Stradbroke Island.

The Soviet-era Yak52 aircraft was reported missing to ASMA just after 1pm when it failed to return to an airfield in Coombabah after taking off for a 30 minute scenic flight about 10am.

“There has been no contact with the missing aircraft and AMSA is currently sourcing aerial assets to conduct a search along the aircraft’s most likely route,” ASMA said in a statement.

The aircraft is often used for aerobatics and scenic flights.

FIRST on Wednesday | A SEARCH and rescue operation is underway to find a small plane that has vanished off the Gold Coast.

The small aircraft is believed to have taken off from Coombabah for a 30 minute scenic flight about 10am on Wednesday but failed to return.

The plane has not been seen and its pilot has not made contact with air traffic control since.

It’s understood two people were on board the plane when it took off on Wednesday morning.

No further information is available at the time of writing.