Police and emergency crews search Tyagarah Beach for debris from the ultralight after it crashed into the sea after taking off
Police and emergency crews search Tyagarah Beach for debris from the ultralight after it crashed into the sea after taking off

Plane crash may always be a mystery

By Samantha Turnbull

The cause of an ultralight plane crash off Tyagarah Beach may never be known.

Police have officially stopped searching for Will Banks, 54, of Ocean Shores, and his son Joel, 25, of Lismore, who were in the borrowed ultralight when it plummeted into the ocean on October 22.

Recreational Aviation Australia operations manager Lee Ungermann said it was impossible to determine the cause of the crash until the wreckage was found.

Mr Ungermann said the aircraft would have sunk because it was not fitted with a flotation device.

However, Evans Head Coastguard operations manager Doug Dufty said he had told boat owners to be on the lookout for the wreckage.

"It is a known fact that wreckages can be carried south in very short periods by strong tides," he said.

"The tide could have carried it south at up to six kilometres an hour."

Arakwal National Park senior diving supervisor Bob Beale said the day of the crash the current was run- ning in a south-easterly direction.

"The depth out there fluctuates between eight and 10 metres, depending on sand movement," he said.

"It wouldn't take a great deal of current to move it along the sea bed."

Mr Beale, who has been involved in salvaging hangliders off Cape Byron for three decades, said he would not be surprised if the wreckage had drifted farther south and was covered in sand.

"At the moment it's like finding a needle in a haystack, so we can't know for sure," he said.



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