Search over for vin­tage Dragon air­craft

Central and North Burnett Times - - FRONT PAGE - Danielle Lowe and staff writ­ers

IT­WAS meant to be a joy flight with friends as part of the Monto Fly In week­end.

But a cou­ple of hours into the flight, bi­plane pi­lot Des Porter and his pas­sen­gers found them­selves in thick cloud and made an emer­gency call for help.

Late yes­ter­day af­ter­noon, the worst fears of fam­ily and friends were con­firmed with the news that the wreck­age had been found – and all six on board had died.

The wrecked plane was found west of Im­bil fol­low­ing an ex­ten­sive search op­er­a­tion which be­gan af­ter the vin­tage DeHav­il­land DH84 Dragon 2 bi­plane – one of only four in the world – failed to arrive at the Ca­bool­ture Air­port on Mon­day af­ter­noon.

An AGL Ac­tion Res­cue He­li­copter spokesman con­firmed six bod­ies had been found at the wreck­age, which was in the orig­i­nal search zone around the Bo­rumba Dam area.

Two AGL Ac­tion Res­cue He­li­copters had been able to land about 200 me­tres from the crash site. The crash was de­scribed as be­ing high im­pact. “The plane is not in a con­di­tion that you would recog­nise as a plane,” an Aus­tralian Maritime Safety Author­ity spokesman said.

“They have hit the ground ex­ceed­ingly hard and the air­craft is fun­da­men­tally de­stroyed.”

Au­thor­i­ties be­lieved the bi­plane ran out of fuel about 2.30pm on Mon­day over the Jimna Range near Kil­coy.

A Nine News he­li­copter picked up a dis­tress call from the plane about 1pm on Mon­day, and the he­li­copter pi­lot said Mr Porter was hav­ing dif­fi­culty po­si­tion­ing him­self and wanted help.

The de­ceased are: Des, his 61-year-old wife Kath Porter, both from Tin­galpa, and friends Les D’evlin, 75, and his 61-year-old wife Jan­ice D’evlin from Manly West and John Daw­son, 75, and his wife Carol Daw­son, 63, also from Tin­galpa.

Photo: Ni­cola Bran­der

PI­LOT: Des Porter with the re­stored bi­plane.

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