Rescue turns to retrieval for Brisbane plane crash couple

POLICE have resumed their recovery mission to locate the bodies of a Brisbane couple, whose plane plummeted into waters near Moreton Island earlier this week.

The 70-year-old experienced captain and his 52-year-old wife made a single mayday call on the afternoon of January 22 before their plane fell from the radar.

Initial search and rescue operations by the Australian Maritime and Safety Authority (AMSA), along with the Queensland Police Service, Coast Guard, Volunteer Marine Rescue and rescue helicopters were unsuccessful in locating the pair.

Several rescue helicopters joined the search for a missing plane off Moreton Island. Photo: Surf Life Saving Queensland
Several rescue helicopters joined the search for a missing plane off Moreton Island. Photo: Surf Life Saving Queensland

AMSA called off the rescue search at 1pm the following day, leaving the recovery mission to Queensland Police.

"AMSA has received expert medical advice that the impact would not have been survivable," the statement said.

"AMSA extends its sincere condolences to the family of both people on board during this difficult time.

"Queensland Police Service has taken over co-ordination and will be launching a recovery effort."

Initial debris located by police included a nose-wheel and a large piece of sheet metal, while further debris has since been recovered from the area as far south as North Stradbroke Island.

Sonar imaging searches will continue along North Moreton Island, where police will aim to locate larger pieces of wreckage on the sea floor.

The RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopter joined the initial search for the missing aircraft off Moreton Island. Photo: RACQ LifeFlight Rescue
The RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopter joined the initial search for the missing aircraft off Moreton Island. Photo: RACQ LifeFlight Rescue

Water Police, Surf Life Saving Queensland and Volunteer Marine Rescue will conduct land, beach, air and water searches to continue the search for debris.

If sonar imaging- which can trace wreckage as far as 40 metres under sea level- is successful in locating the plane, it's likely police divers will be sent down.

Aerial searches of an area north of Stradbroke Island will be completed today by helicopter and patrols of the shoreline of both Moreton and North Stradbroke Islands by police in vehicles and on foot.


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