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Father, son die in plane crash near Coffs Harbour

COFFS HARBOUR, Australia: Two men died in a plane crash in the rough terrain off Coffs Harbour, New South Wales Police confirmed on Saturday.

Police found the wreckage in a dense bush-land to the west of the city at around 6:30am.

The officials believe the men were father and son aged in 50s and 20s, respectively, are yet to be formally identified.

A search had been underway after a four-seater Mooney M-20 aircraft departed Murwillumbah and did not arrive as planned at Taree two hours later.

The plane had went off radar about 27 kilometres west of Coffs Harbour on Friday morning.

The Australian Marine Safety Authority (AMSA) Westpac rescue helicopter had located the crash site near Mount Moombil and Dorrigo National Park.

AMSA’s Sam Cardwell said the crash site is about 500 metres from the nearest trail.

NSW Police Chief Inspector Brendan Gorman revealed that at least 20 personnel from the NSW Police, State Emergency Services (SES) and National Parks and Wildlife Service assisted in the operation.

“[It is] a very stressful time for the family,” Chief Inspector Gorman said referring to the accidental death of the men from Gold Coast area.

Police had begun knocking on doors around the town of Dorrigo on Friday to determine whether locals had seen an aircraft in distress.

Chief Inspector Peter Hayes said the residents were surprised to hear about a plane crash near their town.

“They are very surprised, it is obviously a flight path that we are looking at and aircraft go over all the time, but you don’t expect an aircraft to go down near you,” he said.

Prior to the discovery of debris Chief Inspector Hayes had complained about the bad weather and topography, “It’s very thick terrain, this is the problem, thick and hilly so visibility from the air isn’t very good at all due to fog.”

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) has been informed and is now in charge of further investigation into the crash.