HMAS Gascoyne.
HMAS Gascoyne. Royal Australian Navy

WATCH: Wreckage of missing plane found off Byron Bay coast

A LIGHT plane missing off Byron Bay since March has been located, after police requested Navy assistance in the search.

Shortly after 4pm on Monday 21 March 2016, a light aircraft, piloted by 46-year-old Lennox Head man Paul Whyte, left Lismore but failed to return.

The plane was believed to have disappeared from radar about 6 nautical miles north east of Cape Byron.

Despite an air and water search coordinated by AMSA, the plane was not located.

NSW Water Police and divers conducted a side scan sonar search of approximately 1.5 square miles of ocean floor, however no wreckage was recovered as the ocean depths were beyond the capabilities of the equipment used by police.

A request was forwarded to the Royal Australian Navy to assist in the search.

Yesterday, a Navy minesweeper was deployed to the search area off Byron Bay.

About 12.20am today, the Navy vessel located three large pieces of wreckage in about 73m of water.

The wreckage was surveyed and filmed by the Navy.

Mr Whyte's body was not located.

It is not anticipated that the wreckage will be salvaged.

There are no suspicious circumstances.


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