Do a search for “VH-MDX” in Google and you’ll find all sorts of things. Unfortunately, what you won’t find (yet) is the location of this missing Cessna aircraft, that disappeared over Barrington Tops National Park, north-west of Sydney in August 1981.
It truly is Australia’s greatest aviation mystery and one that has confounded everyone from search & rescue and aviation experts, locals, bushwalkers and conspiracy theorists for over 30 years.
The main reason I started this blog was to encourage people to get out into the great outdoors and to demystify some of the dark arts of moving and living in our wild places.
But I also want to use my blog to encourage people with the necessary skills and experience to get involved through volunteering in their local outdoors community.
I produced this video above to give a glimpse into some of the work that has gone on behind-the-scenes this year to help bring closure to this long standing mystery. To hopefully answer some of the unanswered questions.
For many years, Bushwalkers Wilderness Rescue Squad has been running an annual SAREX (Search and Rescue Exercise) in different parts of this rugged and wild National Park, to not only test and train ourselves, but to inch closer to knowing the truth.
Each year, we’ve been supported and joined by other squads, in particular the NSW Police Rescue and Bomb Disposal Squad and PolAir and our volunteer brothers and sisters in WICEN, the Rural Fire Service and the State Emergency Service.
Next weekend is a big one. This year has seen the great guys over at Police Rescue really throw themselves into seeing this SAREX as an opportunity for all squads to work together, train together and learn from each other, under the authority of the State Rescue Board. The logistical exercise of this type of activity can’t be underestimated and the teams from Police logistics have been heavily involved in bringing this together.
Personally, this is my 3rd SAREX for this missing plane over the years and the weight of the families, the sense of expectation and the management of risk for us sits heavily upon all our shoulders. We’re certainly not going in with gung-ho hero attitudes. We take this serious terrain, very seriously indeed.
I’ll be heading up one of the small teams in the primary search box and we’re preparing ourselves for a gruelling few days, looking out for any clues and for each other.
Maybe this year, next weekend, we will know the answer.