Six people are feared lost in a 78-year-old aircraft that vanished while soaring low through storm clouds over a rocky corner of Queensland’s Sunshine Coast hinterland.
Des Porter (pictured above with the plane), 68, was giving scenic flights in his prized red 1930s biplane at an air show in central Queensland on the morning of 1st October 2012.
It’s believed the other passengers were two couples around retirement age and Mr Porter’s partner.
The plane had been due to arrive at an airport north of Brisbane but never arrived.
Mr Porter survived a fatal crash in the same model airplane which claimed the lives of his father and brother in the 1950s, he was 10 years of age. Five decades after the tragedy, Des renewed his love affair with the skies and spent many long hard months restoring an identical vintage plane.
It has been confirmed that the plane contacted ATC in Brisbane requesting assistance before activating an emergency beacon at about 2.45pm.
Australian aviation rescue services could no longer locate the beacon and failed to contact the pilot on the Monday afternoon.
Although efforts to search for the plane are taking place, bad weather conditions have created slight delays until the sky brightens (which as of posting will be in approximately 3 hours)
“I know the capabilities of Des as a pilot and we’ve got our thoughts and hopes that he’s made an emergency landing in a paddock and waiting for weather to clear and everything’s cool,” his friend and affiliate said
A high rate of concern was raised when helicopters searched the area a few hours ago; residents have claimed that aside from the local dam, there would be very few places open enough to land a plane.