DESPITE a three day search, months of planning and the use of new technology, a light plane that disappeared over the Barrington Tops with five men on board 32 years ago was not found over the weekend.
More than 150 police and emergency service personnel took part in the search and rescue exercise including NSW Police Rescue Squad, the National Parks and Wildlife Service, Fire and Rescue NSW, NSW Volunteer Rescue Assoc iation, Bushwalkers Wilder ness Rescue Squad, Ambulance Service of NSW, NSW Rural Fire Service, Police Aviation Support Branch and Marine Area Command, and WICEN (Wireless Institute Civil Emergency Network).
Choppers from PolAir and the NSW Ambulance Service provided some aerial support, with a command centre based at the Little Murray campground.
On August 9, 1981, a light plane, VH MDX carrying five men including the pilot commenced a three hour flight from Coolangatta to Bankstown Airport.
Just after 7.30 that night the pilot radioed Sydney Flight Services having struck severe weather.
At 7.39pm the last call from VH MDX was received by Sydney Flight Services indicating the plane had descended to five thousand feet the last communications with the plane.
Over the past three decades there have been a number of searches conducted, all without success.
It is the only unsolved aviation disaster to have occurred on mainland Australia.
The headwaters of the Williams River were the primary search area for 'Project Wittenoom' and the terrain searchers were working in included steep gorges and thick bush.