Monday, April 01, 2013

Three bodies near Northern Territory search site for plane

The Sceney family

The body of one male and two females have been found within the search site for a missing light aircraft in the Northern Territory.

Fears have been held for the lives of 45-year-old electrical contractor Stuart Sceney, his 53-year-old wife Karmi Dunn, and daughters Mekdes, 12, and Kal, 15, since their plane disappeared on Monday.

The Cessna 210 took off from Bullo River Station about 2pm (CST) and failed to land at an airfield south of Darwin a few hours later.

The body of a female was recovered late on Tuesday afternoon, washed up on a beach in the south of the search area near Cape Ford.

Acting Commander Mark Christopher said a forensics team recovered the body, but police were unable to say whether it was a child or a woman.

A further two bodies were discovered later on Tuesday afternoon but no identifying details were available.

Mr Sceney and his wife were well-known and respected in the Territory.

Carmelita (Karmi) Dunn helped in the implementation of the ground-breaking NT 1974 Aboriginal Land Rights Act, and was one of the Territory's most respected and revered indigenous elders.

Ms Dunn had two adopted African children, but it's not known if they were aboard the plane when it went missing.

Ethnologist and pilot Arthur Palmer, who was head of land claims at the Northern Land Council when Ms Dunn was an inaugural staff member, told AAP Ms Dunn possessed one of the sharpest minds on the council.

"She was (also) a brilliant sportswoman and now she's a corporate player," he said.

"She's a dear friend and I'm praying she's alright."

Mr Sceney was a former player and member of the Saint Mary's Football Club in Darwin.

Club president Shaun Hardy told ABC radio Mr Sceney often flew to remote communities as part of his job.

"As far away as Broome, and across the north into Queensland and the remote Territory, so he's certainly very accustomed to flying in Territory conditions," he said.

Media reported a plane wreck has been spotted at Anson Bay, but NT police say this is incorrect.

Up to eight aircraft and numerous vessels have been scouring the search area.

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