Missing helicopter: Wreckage found at Martinsville; no survivors

9PM UPDATE: THE rescue operation to find three people on board a missing helicopter from Breeza has taken a tragic turn as searchers discovered the wreckage, south of Cessnock.

The Eurocopter crashed in dense bushland in the Watagans National Park near Martinsville and claimed the lives of retired businessman turned landscape photographer Richard Green, his graphic artist wife, Carolyn Green, along with travelling companion, John Davis.

The three were on board the privately owned EC135 helicopter that took off from Breeza on Saturday night and was headed for Mona Vale but never arrived.

An AMSA spokesperson confirmed there were no survivors on board the helicopter which had crashed in "mountainous terrain, covered with dense vegetation".

"One of 10 search helicopters located the wreckage, south of Cessnock, in the Watagans National Park," a spokesperson confirmed.

"A paramedic from another helicopter involved in the search was winched down and the confirmed the wreckage was from the Eurocopter."

Mr and Mrs Green and Mr Davis had been to the Harvest Festival to protest against the Shenhua Watermark coalmine and embarked on the two-hour journey home on Saturday evening, but the alarm was only raised on Monday morning just after 8am when the trio were reported missing to police by family members.

"There has been no mayday call or emergency distress beacon signal associated with the helicopter," an AMSA spokesperson said.

John Davis, a renowned documentary film maker and environmentalist died in the helicopter crash with companions Richard and Carolyn Green. Photo: Facebook

John Davis, a renowned documentary film maker and environmentalist died in the helicopter crash with companions Richard and Carolyn Green. Photo: Facebook

Investigators have been told that the Greens are known to stop off at places during their helicopter trips to go bushwalking or exploring for days at a time. The helicopter also has some modifications to make it fly for longer.

A specialist search and rescue plane was being used by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) along with 10 helicopters to search between the Hunter and Sydney, which was narrowed down to an area near the Olney State Forest within the Watagans National Park, west of Lake Macquarie on Monday.

"The search area was narrowed to the area where the wreckage was found following information provided by Airservices Australia," a spokesperson said.

On his photography website, Mr Green said he and his wife used the helicopter as a "flying camper van" to "find, access and photographically record some of Australia's most remote, wild and beautiful environments".

Mr Green's website also appears to have been updated on Monday.

In the "news" section, there is a post dated 9.11.2015 in which Richard wrote about just having returned from a month-long helicopter trip to the Simpson Desert, Kimberley, Pilbara, Nullarbor Plain, Adelaide and Melbourne.

Andrew Pursehouse, who owns the Breeza property where the Greens' helicopter landed and took off from, said Mr Davis called ahead on Saturday morning to ask for the co-ordinates of the property.

Mr Pursehouse said they landed near a shed on Breeza Station just after 11am, stayed for some speeches and left on Saturday evening.

Before they left, the Greens asked a local man for directions to the Whitehaven mine at Werris Creek, about 50 kilometres from Breeza.

"There are some environment issues and they wanted to have a look at that, obviously," he said.

The search area.

The search area.

8pm:

Searchers looking for a missing helicopter have found wreckage in the Watagans near Martinsville on Monday night.

Emergency services were on their way to the scene after an aircraft helped locate the wreckage after 7pm.

More to come

A search is underway for a missing helicopter that left northern NSW bound for Sydney on Saturday with three people on board.

Retired businessman turned landscape photographer Richard Green and his graphic artist wife, Carolyn Green were on board their privately owned EC135 helicopter that was headed for Mona Vale.

The helicopter left Breeza, south of Tamworth on Saturday evening and the pilot and passengers haven't been heard from since, a spokeswoman from the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) said.

The couple attended the Harvest Festival at Breeza against Shenhua's coal mine but left after a few hours. Their flight to Sydney's northern beaches should have taken two hours and no mayday call or emergency beacon signal had been detected. 

Authorities were notified on Monday morning that the twin engine helicopter had gone missing.

On his photography website, Mr Green said he and his wife use the helicopter as a "flying camper van" to "find, access and photographically record some of Australia's most remote, wild and beautiful environments".

"After early retirement from a successful business career in England, I decided to take up the challenge of learning to fly a helicopter," he states.

"I subsequently purchased my own, and emigrated to Australia where I met Carolyn. For over 20 years we have made regular helicopter trips together to distant and otherwise inaccessible outback locations - our objective being to find and photographically record some of the continent's most remote, wild and beautiful environments.

"The helicopter has been specially modified to act as a self-sufficient camp base."

Investigators have been told that the Greens are known to stop off at places during their helicopter trips to go bushwalking or exploring for days at a time.

'My pride and joy': the EC135 operated by Richard Green. Photo: www.richardgreen.net.au

'My pride and joy': the EC135 operated by Richard Green. Photo: www.richardgreen.net.au

Mr Green's website also appears to have been updated on Monday.

In the "news" section, there is a post dated 9.11.2015 in which Richard writes about just returning from a month-long helicopter trip to the Simpson Desert, Kimberley, Pilbarra, Nullabor Plain, Adelaide and Melbourne.

ASMA and the Westpac Rescue Helicopter was coordinating a search for the chopper throughout the Hunter Valley region and Sydney, but were attempting to gain more information to narrow the search area.

A search and rescue plane was scouring the northern boundaries of the search areas along the helicopter's assumed flight path on Monday afternoon.

A rescue helicopter was searching the southern portion of the search area and an additional seven helicopters will join the search effort.

- with MICHAEL McGOWAN, BREANNA CHILLINGWORTH and MATT CARR

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