Body could be from air crash
By SAMANTHA TURNBULL
POLICE hope a man's body washed up at New Brighton is one of two men missing since an ultralight aircraft crash off Tyagarah a month ago.
The body will today be taken to Newcastle for an autopsy.
Walkers discovered the body, which had washed ashore 1km north of the Brunswick Heads breakwall, about 6pm on Friday.
Byron Bay police duty officer Acting Insp Greg Swindells confirmed it was a man, but said it was unknown whether it was Will Banks, 54, of Ocean Shores or his son Joel, 25, of Lismore.
The father and son have been missing since their borrowed ultralight aircraft crashed into the ocean off Tyagarah Beach on October 22.
"We'd like to hope it was one of them but we can't presume anything until the body is positively identified," Insp Swindells said.
He said there were no other reports of people missing at sea on the Far North Coast in recent months and the Banks family had been informed a body was found.
"They have been advised a body washed ashore," Insp Swindells said.
"But we all have to wait for the autopsy to be carried out before we receive positive identification."
The autopsy results are expected to be released this week.
A memorial service for Joel was held yesterday at the Byron Bay Beach Resort.
A service was held for Will Banks earlier this month at Brunswick Heads.
Family members advised police to call off the search after police divers and the Royal Australian Navy failed to find the bodies.
The ultralight wreckage has not been found despite the use of sophisticated sonar equipment during the search.
Evans Head Coastguard volunteers have been keeping a lookout for the wreckage, which may have been swept away by the current running in a south-easterly direction on the day of the crash.
A Recreational Aviation Australia spokesman said it would be impossible to determine the exact cause of the accident until the wreckage was recovered.
Police set up a crime scene at the beach on Friday evening.