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Pilot's Body Found, Mother Still Missing After Birthday Joy Ride Went Wrong

Police have located a deceased man in wreckage of a light plane that was found in waters off South Stradbroke Island.

Police believe the man to be the 52-year-old pilot from the Yak 52 aircraft that departed about 10 am on Wednesday for a 30-minute flight, but not return.

10 News First spoke with neighbours who confirmed the pilot as Martinus Van Hattem, a 51-year-old Dutch national who lived on the Gold Coast in Queensland.

Police said Van Hattem's family has been notified.

Missing pilot Martinus Van Hattem, who goes by Marcel on Facebook. PHOTO: Facebook

Police are still searching for his female passenger, a 31-year-old Australian woman, who is also a Gold Coast resident and has an 11-year-old daughter.

"It's actually her birthday today," Gold Coast Water Police Senior Sergeant Jay Notaro told reporters on Thursday.

"The pilot was known to her and was providing that flight for her as part of her birthday celebrations."

Police were notified the plane had not returned as scheduled more than four hours later at 2.30 pm, Notaro said.

The debris was located on the coastline of South Stradbroke Island about 5pm on Wednesday that Notaro said was consistent with the missing plane. 

"Since that time, we have located further debris," he said, adding search efforts have been hampered by "tricky conditions".

READ MORE: Plane With Two Aboard Missing In QLD 

Police continued their air, water and land search on Thursday with the assistance of Polair, the Westpac helicopter, jet skies, vessels and marine rescue groups.

Meanwhile, a dog belonging to the missing pilot lay patiently at the gate of his Gold Coast home.

A dog waits patiently at his owner's home. PHOTO: 10 News First

Notaro urged any witnesses who may have seen the plane between 10 am and 11 am on Wednesday near the coastline of South Stradbroke Island to come forward.

Otherwise, he asked the public to steer clear of the search area.

Police will continue to search for the remainder of the wreckage and the missing female passenger.

Featured image: 10 News First