Update: The search for a missing light aircraft that departed Lismore Airport last night has been called off.
Australian Maritime Safety Authority called off the search for the missing pilot at 1pm.
‘Considering water temperature and sea conditions in the area, expert medical advice indicates that the pilot could not have survived beyond midday today,’ a media statement read.
‘The search for the missing pilot concluded at 1 pm today.’
A search is underway this morning for a missing light aircraft that departed Lismore airport last night but failed to return.
It’s understood the single occupant of the Cessna 172 is a commercial airline pilot from Lennox Head.
The aircraft was hired yesterday from the Northern Rivers Aero Club, which is based at Lismore Airport.
The Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter was tasked at 9.45pm last night by the Australian Search and Rescue Centre (Aussar) to conduct a visual search for the missing plane.
The helicopter searched along the coast from Ballina to Byron Bay and out to sea, with crew using night vision goggles as well as homing for any possible emergency beacon.
There was no sighting or detection and the helicopter returned to base at 11pm.
Another search started at first light this morning.
Westpac spokesperson Roger Fry told Echonetdaily at 11am that the rescue helicopter had just re-fueled at Ballina airport and was returning to the search area between Ballina and Evans Head.
Mr Fry said four helicopters and one fixed-wing aircraft were now involved in the search.
A Marine Rescue crew and the Water Police are also searching.
More to come