BEACH EMERGENCY: A file picture at Tyagarah beach as police and emergency services search following reports of the plane crash.
BEACH EMERGENCY: A file picture at Tyagarah beach as police and emergency services search following reports of the plane crash.

Body on beach in plane crash

By RENEE REDMOND rredmond@northernstar.com.au

THE body washed ashore at New Brighton beach last Friday night has been identified as 25-year-old Joel Banks.

Mr Banks had been missing, presumed dead, after the ultralight plane piloted by his father crashed off Tyagarah Beach last month.

Results of an autopsy in Newcastle yesterday confirmed the identity of Mr Banks, and revealed the cause of death was a head injury.

A memorial service had been held for him at the weekend.

His body was discovered by a passerby about 6pm last Friday, 1km north of the Brunswick Heads breakwall.

Mr Banks and his father, 54-year-old William Banks, had borrowed the yellow ultralight plane which crashed 700m off Tyagarah Beach on October 22.

Police divers were brought up from Sydney to search for the wreckage using sonar equipment, but were unsuccessful.

The Westpac Life Saver Rescue helicopter also made an aerial search of the immedi- ate area for an hour, before searching an enlarged area from Brunswick Heads to Byron Bay and five nautical miles out to sea. This search also proved fruitless.

Brunswick Surf Club found an oil slick and recovered some pieces of debris which had washed up to the surface.

Police found one sandshoe, ear muffs, a headrest, and a case containing a Swiss army knife and what was believed to be a wing strut.

The suspected crash site, about 700m off Tyagarah Beach, was marked with a buoy.

Heavy seas forced police divers out of the water two days after the crash and on the fourth day, the search for the aircraft was called off.

Police said they believed the bodies were trapped in the cockpit.

On November 9 police officially stopped searching for William and Joel Banks.

Police yesterday said that despite an exhaustive search by officers from Tweed/Byron Local Area Command, the Water Police and the Navy, the body of William Banks and the wreckage of the ultra- light had not been found.



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