Police hold grave fears for the pilot of a firefighting aircraft that has crashed in bushland in the Shoalhaven region.
And media have reported the plane crash has sparked a further fire in a national park already ablaze.
Just after 10.10am Police from Shoalhaven LAC were called to remote bushland west of Ulladulla where a fixed wing plane which had crashed.
Police, Fire and Rescue NSW and Ambulance officers were despatched to the scene, as well as officers from the NSW Rural Fire Service.
As a result of the crash, extensive damage was caused to the plane and other firefighting aircraft were called to the area to extinguish a fire at the site.
It’s believed the The M-18 Dromader fixed wing aircraft had been contracted to the RFS for firefighting efforts.
It was operating in very rugged and steep terrain near Wirritin Mountain, 36km west of Ulladulla, where a 3800-hectare bushfire continues to burn out of control.
The Sydney Morning Herald has reported that an attempt by a helicopter ambulance to winch rescuers to the site early this afternoon had to be aborted due to high winds and smoke.
Police said it could take response crews ‘some time’ to get there in vehicles, although it is understood a Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter has now reached the site.
At this stage it is believed that the pilot was the only person on board.
NSW Police Aviation Command were heading to the scene this afternoon with an air crash investigation officer who will liaise with Air Transport Safety Bureau investigators.