A meticulously restored and rare 1934 De Havilland DH84 Dragon with six aboard went missing Monday northwest of Brisbane, Australia, and its wreckage was found Wednesday in bushland near Mount Kandanga, with no survivors. Weather conditions at the time of the aircraft's afternoon flight, Monday, included low-level clouds. The restored aircraft was not equipped for instrument flight and two hours into the fatal flight, the Dragon's pilot, Des Porter, contacted air traffic controllers for help, saying he'd been flying up and down through clouds trying to establish his location, according to the HeraldSun.com. Rescue teams located the aircraft's wreckage with the aid of mobile phone technology by tracking a signal from a phone that was still operating, post-crash.
The aircraft's condition after the crash was very poor and "fundamentally destroyed," search chief Mike Barton told the CourierMail.com.au. Peaks in the area reach approximately 1200 feet, which may have been above cloud base on the day of the accident. The crash site is located in a remote wooded area. Witnesses reportedly saw the aircraft circling before it disappeared into thick clouds. At least one witness told authorities it appeared the aircraft was trying to find a place to land. Porter was in contact with a rescue helicopter prior to the crash. After being asked to switch to another frequency, he was not heard from again.