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Search ends for missing pilot

Tuesday 22 March 2016
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has been conducting a search for a light aircraft missing off the northern NSW coast. The search has now completed.
Media Release

At about 4.20 pm (AEDT) on 21 March a Cessna with one person on board departed Lismore for a short flight with a plan to return to Lismore.

About four hours later AMSA received advice from Airservices Australia regarding concerns for a pilot and aircraft which had not returned to Lismore.

AMSA tasked a helicopter from Lismore to conduct an initial search.

Overnight, AMSA’s Joint Rescue Coordination Centre reviewed air traffic services radar information from the area, provided by AirServices Australia. The information confirmed that the last contact with the plane occurred six nautical miles north-east of Byron Bay at about 4.50 pm on 21 March.

Air search operations continued today (22 March) with five helicopters and AMSA’s Cairns-based Dornier search and rescue aircraft. AMSA also tasked a NSW Police vessel from Coffs Harbour and a Volunteer Marine Rescue boat from Ballina, to conduct a surface search of the area. The search focused on the last known position, in waters north-east of Byron Bay.

Considering water temperature and sea conditions in the area, expert medical advice indicates that the pilot could not have survived beyond midday today.

The search for the missing pilot concluded at 1 pm today (AEDT).

NSW Police Marine Area Command will stay in the area and conduct further investigations.

AMSA would like to thank the search helicopter crews, NSW Police and Volunteer Marine Rescue for their assistance in the search.