News People Still no sign of woman missing on vintage plane birthday flight
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Still no sign of woman missing on vintage plane birthday flight

gold coast missing plane
Pilot Marcel van Hattem, whose body was found on Thursday. His passenger, Trista Applebee, is still missing. Photo: AAP
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Authorities are still looking for the body of a Queensland mum presumed to have died during a joy flight to celebrate her birthday.

The 31-year-old, named in media reports as Trista Applebee, was on a scenic flight with pilot Marcel van Hattem when their Soviet-era Yak 52 crashed into the sea off the Gold Coast.

Mr van Hattem’s body was found on Thursday afternoon. He was 52.

“It actually was a birthday flight. The pilot was known to her and providing that flight as part of her birthday celebrations,” Senior Sergeant Jay Notaro said on Wednesday.

Crews will continue searching the crash scene of South Stradbroke Island on Friday, hoping to locate Ms Applebee’s body.

More details have emerged about why it took until about 1pm for the plane to be reported missing after it took off at 10am on Wednesday, on what should have been a short joyride.

Southport Flying Club aerodrome manager Steve Rance said authorities were alerted after Ms Applebee’s boyfriend was left waiting at the airstrip for his partner to return.

“He said he was waiting for his girlfriend who had been on a flight that took off at 10am and was only supposed to go for half an hour,” Mr Rance has told The Gold Coast Bulletin.

“That’s when one of our members raised the alarm and we contacted Airservices [Australia]”.

Ms Applebee has an 11-year-old daughter.

Mr van Hattem, an experienced and respected pilot, had taken Ms Applebee for a scenic flight as an early present to mark her birthday on Thursday.

-with AAP