The body of a pilot killed today when his plane crashed west of Ulladulla has been located.
Police confirmed the 43-year-old pilot from Trangie died in an aircraft crash in remote bushland 15 nautical miles west of Ulladulla.
He was a contractor from Central West NSW. He was the only person aboard the aircraft and his family have been notified.
The aircraft crashed in rugged bushland, near Wirritin Mountain, just after 10am on Thursday.
NSW Police Aviation Command is on the way to the scene with an air crash investigation officer who will liaise with the Air Transport Safety Bureau investigators.
Police said investigators will prepare a report for the coroner.
Rural Fire Service Deputy Commissioner Rob Rodgers confirmed that the aircraft was involved in firefighting operations at the time.
A fire was sparked as a result of the crash. The fire, combined with rugged and steep terrain and high winds, meant rescue crews took several hours to reach the crash scene.
“We are concerned, as you would imagine,” Mr Rodgers said at Faulconbridge today.
“It’s in a remote area. Helicopter rescue crews are on the way as we speak."
The rugged nature of the terrain made it hard for emergency crews to access the wreckage.
Two rescue helicopters arrived in the area just before midday, and an attempt was made to winch paramedics to the ground.
However that was aborted due to high winds and smoke in the area.
Police, Fire and Rescue NSW and Ambulance officers have been sent to the scene, along with officers from the NSW Rural Fire Service
The fixed-wing aircraft, an M-18 Dromader, had been contracted to the RFS for firefighting efforts.
Mr Rodgers said firefighting was "an inherently dangerous task, whether you are on the ground or whether you are flying the air".
"Our focus right now is obviously supporting the families involved and making sure the best possible services are provided to go in and hopefully help the pilot," he said.
Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter chief executive Stephen Leahy said the Life Saver three helicopter was at the scene of the crash.
‘‘Details are still sketchy at the moment. We know it’s a fixed-wing (aircraft), so it will be a large aircraft. Other firefighting aircraft in the area are also looking for it,’’ he said.
According to the RFS, a 3800 hectare bushfire is burning out-of-control in thick bushland at Wirritin Ridge, 36 kilometres west of Ulladulla.
It was unclear whether the aircraft was fighting this blaze when the crash occurred.
The plane that crashed is believed to be an M-18 Dromader, a single-engine agricultural aircraft that can be adapted for fire-fighting purposes.
A NSW Police spokesman said officers were still making their way to the scene.
She said the fixed-wing aircraft was conducting fire fighting suppression activities in the Shoalhaven area.
"We are responding to reports of an aircraft incident near Ulladulla about 10am this morning," the spokeswoman said.
"Police were called to remote bushland, believed to be about 40 kilometres west of Ulladulla. The aircraft is believed to be a fixed-wing aircraft."
NSW Police Aviation Command is heading to the scene with an air crash investigation officer who will liaise with Air Transport Safety Bureau investigators.
-from www.smh.com.au, South Coast Register & AAP