Vintage biplane with six onboard missing in Australia

2012-10-02 10:07


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Sydney - A search was under way on Tuesday for a vintage red 1930s De Havilland biplane that is missing in Australia with six people on board after the pilot made a distress call.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), which is co-ordinating the search, said seven helicopters were involved in the hunt over land for the Dragon DH-84 plane, reportedly one of only four in the world.

The pilot had been raising funds for charity by giving scenic flights before the craft vanished in southeastern Queensland state as it was heading back to its base in Caboolture, about 44km north of Brisbane.

"The aircraft contacted air traffic services in Brisbane on Monday afternoon requesting assistance before activating an emergency beacon," AMSA said.

"The beacon is no longer being detected and [rescuers] have been unable to establish communications with the aircraft."

The 68-year-old pilot, Des Porter, survived a crash in the same plane 58 years ago which killed his father and brother, said Rod Robertson from the Gladstone Aero Club.

Ran out of fuel

"He survived the accident himself and then he found the aeroplane some years later in a hangar all disassembled - the very same aircraft - and then they put it back together and lovingly restored it," he told ABC radio.

Aaron Regan, a pilot with the Maroochydore and Bundaberg AGL Action Rescue Helicopters, which is involved in the search, said he believed it ran out of fuel during thick cloud and rain.

"Normally he would be flying visually, so he would be flying below the cloud line, but unfortunately he found himself in cloud," he told the Sunshine Coast Daily newspaper.

"His first inkling as a pilot would have been to try to get out of it, and if you can't get out of it quickly, you need to climb and try not to hit anything."

Regan added that there were hopes Porter and his passengers were alive.

"We are hoping they broke free of the cloud and were able to make a controlled landing somewhere," he said.

Read more on:    australia  |  air travel

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Prince George the green prince?

Prince Charles hopes his grandson's love of the outdoors will become a passion for the environment.



One man's $1 million vision for an eco Africa
China's air pollution at doomsday levels
Keep food fresher for longer
Hurricanes, earthquakes and floods – What climate change really means for us

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts

The full moon energy can be quite intense today as your emotions fight against reason. It is important to ground your ideas more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.