Police suspend search for helicopter after Anna Bay crash

Calmer seas: A Police Marine Command boat heads out to survey the crash site on Wednesday. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers
Calmer seas: A Police Marine Command boat heads out to survey the crash site on Wednesday. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Police have suspended their search for the wreck of a helicopter and five people believed to have died in a crash off the coast of Port Stephens more than a week ago.

Newcastle and Port Stephens Marine Command units returned to normal duties on Monday, with unfavourable ocean conditions predicted for the coming days.

Weatherzone has forecast seas up to four metres on Tuesday and Wednesday, with winds expected to reach 40 knots (74km/h) at various times.

Police have not yet found the wreckage of the chopper or the five people who were aboard the Bell UH-1H Iroquois helicopter, which disappeared from the Williamtown air traffic control radar at 6.49pm on September 6.

Queensland men Jamie Ogden and Grant Kuhnemann, married Sydney couple Jocelyn Villanueva and Gregory Miller, and the chopper's pilot and owner David Kerr - also a Queensland man - are believed to have died in the crash off the coast of Anna Bay.

Police divers searched what was believed to be the crash site last week after poor conditions delayed the recovery operation, but they did not find the wreck. Police said on Monday further searches may be conducted later this week, if conditions improve.

It is understood only a handful of witnesses have contacted police. Investigators repeated their appeal on Monday for anyone who saw the crash to contact them through the Crime Stoppers hotline on 1800 333 000.

The Air Transport Safety Bureau is also asking anyone who saw the chopper over Anna Bay to contact them on 1800 992 986.

IN OTHER NEWS