A search continues for a vintage plane with six people aboard missing in mountainous terrain in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland.

Seven helicopters and one plane spent the day covering a 540 square nautical mile area west of Gympie and south to Nambour.

Jonathan Ayre reports.


Des Porter took off from Monto, west of Bundaberg, en route to Caboolture aerodrome, just north of Brisbane.

The plane hit trouble in poor weather at 1:30pm near Imbil and activated an emergency beacon which went silent shortly after.

Mr Porter was carrying five passengers in his vintage plane, a de Haviland DH-84 Dragon built in 1934.

Search and rescue teams remain hopeful of finding everyone alive.

David Donaldson, AGL Rescue Helicopter Pilot: “It’s hilly terrain, its also heavily wooded. So, even you you flew right across the top of it if you weren’t able to look down through the trees you might not necessarily see anything on the ground.”

A specially equipped plane with thermal imaging travelled from Victoria last night to join the search.

Weather conditions cleared this morning allowing rescuers to resume operations.

Seven search and rescue helicopters are also involved in the search.

Des’s friends and colleages at Caboolture Aerodrome believe he has what it takes to survive.

Captain Bryan Carpenter, Aero Dynamic Flight Academy: “Des is a very very experienced pilot and if there was a hope of getting out of it in some way if he’d survived he would be able to use his skill somehow to survive.”

This is the second accident for Mr Porter, in the same type of plane.

When he was 11 his father and brother were both killed in a crash involving a DH-84 in 1954.

Jonathan Ayre, QUT News.