Light plane crash: one dead, one missing: UPDATED

4.53PM UPDATE: Police say they cannot confirm the identity of a man who died when a light plane plunged into the water off Barlings Beach on Sunday.

The two local men, both in their 60s, had set out at 11.30am on an Australian-made light plane to conduct an annual flying assessment of one of the men’s skills.

“The plane came down within the hour. We’re not sure yet, but it looks like something might have come loose off the plane and they lost control and went into the water," Sheldon Jones, chief pilot at the Moruya Aeroclub, said.

The man being assessed was a retiree and former retailer from Mossy Point and the other man was an active flying instructor from Moruya, who had many years of experience and flew a few times a week, according to Mr Jones.

“One of the men was extremely experienced and the other man was very experienced,” Mr Jones said.

One of the men is confirmed dead while the search for the other man has now been suspended due to poor light. Mr Jones said the men's deaths would be a “big loss to the aviation community”.

Police divers will attend the scene tomorrow to search the wreckage.

Police statement

3.54PM UPDATE: Police have called a 4.30pm press conference following a light plane crash near Barlings Beach.

The media briefing has been moved from the operations centre at Tomakin to Marine Rescue at Hanging Rock, Batemans Bay.

It is likely the search will have to be suspended as light begins to fade.

3.30PM: Authorities have confirmed it was a middle-aged man who died in Sunday's light plane crash off the NSW South Coast.

Emergency services were called to Barlings Beach, south of Batemans Bay, shortly after midday following reports that a light plane had plunged into the ocean.

The Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter, based at the nearby Moruya Airport, was on the scene within minutes and located an oil slick and debris floating on the surface of the ocean, about 1 ½ kilometres offshore Mossy Point.

The helicopter crew began searching for survivors and, a short time later, they located the body of a man floating on the surface.

A Rescue Crew Officer was winched into the water and he rescued the man and they were both winched aboard the helicopter.

The middle-aged man was flown to the Westpac Life Saver helicopter base where they were met by police and ambulance officers, however he was unable to be revived.

A search involving local police, surf lifesavers and Marine Rescue NSW is still underway, searching for the plane wreckage and any other survivors.

2.53PM: The flight route of a plane that has ditched into the ocean off the NSW South Coast has still not been confirmed.

Police, at this point, say they are unable to confirm where the aircraft was coming from or where it was headed when it crashed into the water off Barlings Beach shortly after midday Sunday.

Rescue services are still on site searching for the missing plane and a person presumed on board. The body of a second person has already been recovered from the scene.

2.05PM: Police have confirmed the body of one person has been recovered following a light plane crash off the NSW South Coast.

Emergency services responded to reports of a plane in distress about 2.4km off Barlings Beach, near Tomakin, around 12.10pm.

Police from Far South Coast Local Area Command have confirmed the plane crashed into the ocean.

The body of one person has been recovered.

A search-and-rescue operation is now underway, involving police from Far South Coast Local Area Command and the Marine Area Command, along with Royal Life Saving and Marine Rescue NSW.

A brief will be prepared for information of the Coroner.

1.20PM UPDATE: Marine Rescue is on scene and five boats are searching for the person missing after a light plane went into the sea off Barlings Beach Sunday.

Divers are on their way to the scene. They only have a limited window of opportunity to find the missing aircraft before it completely sinks in very deep water.

Two couples reported seeing the plane go down around 12.10pm.

A rescue helicopter is also at the scene.

1PM: A full scale search is underway after a light plane crash on the NSW South Coast Sunday.

The plane went down around 12.10pm and one body has already been recovered from the water off Tomakin, south of Batemans Bay.

A second person is still missing.

Police and Surf Lifesavers are on the scene.

More details as they come to hand.


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