UPDATE at 5:20 AEST | THREE bodies have sadly been recovered from a sea plane which crashed into the Hawkesbury River north of Sydney on New Year’s Eve.
Police confirmed the tragic development in a statement just after 6pm AEDT.
“Police divers are on scene and three bodies have so far been recovered,” the statement said.
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It’s understood up to six people were on board the light sightseeing plane when it plunged out of the sky and into the river at Cowan Creek, near the Pacific Highway, just after 3pm AEDT.
What started as a frantic search and rescue operation has sadly entered a recovery phase, police said.
Police are working with the Australian Transport Safety Bureau to investigate the circumstances surrounding the tragedy.
A command post has been set up at the Apple Tree Bay boat ramp while police divers work to retrieve the remaining bodies from the submerged wreck.
Details of those believed to be on board the aircraft have not yet been released.
No information is available on the identity of the occupants at this stage.
FIRST at 3:45 AEST | AN EMERGENCY is unfolding north of Sydney where a sea plane with up to six people on board has crashed into the Hawkesbury River.
The plane reportedly plunged into Jerusalem Bay at Cowan Creek, just off the Pacific highway around 40km north of the city’s CBD, just after 3.10pm AEDT.
A major search and rescue operation is underway, involving multiple emergency service agencies, including water police, paramedics and the Westpac Lifesaver Rescue helicopter.
NSW Police said the aircraft is believed to be completely submerged.
“The plane, which is believed to have several occupants on board, went down about 3.15pm today, however no specific details are available,” police said in a statement at 4:20 AEDT.
“A search and rescue operation is continuing to locate the plane, which is believed to be submerged.”
It’s understood the Westpac helicopter has since spotted debris and oil slick on the water’s surface.
Details of the pilot and passengers onboard the sea plane are not yet known.
Police divers are making their way to the scene.
No further information was available at the time of writing.
MORE TO COME.