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Search For Missing Helicopter Suspended After Wreckage Spotted

The search for a helicopter that went missing on Friday evening has been suspended.

The decision was made to stop searching for the five occupants of the missing aircraft based on expert medical advice.

NSW Police will instead commence recovery operations.

Five Feared Dead After Helicopter Disappears From Radar

A wreckage was located during searches on Friday evening where an oil slick and a number of pieces of debris were spotted from above.  It was seen off Fingal Head, but due to adverse weather conditions, nothing of significance was recovered.

A tail rotor believed to be from the missing aircraft was spotted at about 8.45 on Saturday morning and at 9.30 the main airframe of the helicopter semi-submerged in the search area was also sighted.

The search has been suspended. Photo: Twitter/ Marina Neil.

Four men and one woman were in the private Bell uh-1/B205 helicopter when it "faded from the radar" on Friday evening and there have been no sightings of them since.

The aircraft took off from Coffs Harbour on the NSW Mid-North Coast and was bound for Bankstown in Sydney's south-west.

The helicopter disappeared from the radar at around 6.30pm as it passed over Anna Bay in the NSW Hunter Region. There were no detected emergency calls or beacon signals before contact was lost.

READ MORE: Search Underway For Missing Helicopter Which 'Faded From Radar'

Anna Bay. Image: Google

The disappearance triggered a full-scale search operation coordinated by the  Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA). The AMSA is being assisted by officers from the NSW Police Marine Area Command, Port Stephens-Hunter Police District, Westpac Rescue Helicopter, NSW Marine Rescue, and various aerial support.

The rescue mission was formally suspended at 12 noon on Saturday.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau has launched an investigation into how the helicopter went missing.

Contact Siobhan at skenna@networkten.com.au.