Men still missing but plane found after mid-air crash

Divers will continue to search for two men who were on board an ex-military fighter jet that crashed into Victoria's Port Phillip Bay. 

Crews have been scouring Port Phillip Bay for any sign of TV camera operator James Rose, 30, and pilot Stephen Gale, 56, after their Jetworks Aviation flight went down about 1.45pm on Sunday.

Victoria Police on Tuesday confirmed crews found a large part of the body of the plane off the shore of Mornington.

"Divers have searched the wreckage today during what is a complex recovery," they said in a statement.

TV cameraman James Rose is presumed dead after a plane crash

"The search is ongoing and divers are expected to continue tomorrow."

Investigators were still working to determine the exact circumstances of the mid-air crash and believed the aircraft would have been visible from Mount Martha between 1pm and 2pm on Sunday.

Officers urged anyone who saw the planes to come forward.

Mr Gale, a highly experienced flyer from Brunswick, owned Jetworks Aviation.

The plane was one of two Viper S-211 Marchetti aircraft conducting a formation flight for a Jetworks Aviation promotional video about 12km west of Mount Martha.  

They collided mid-air and one crashed into the water while the second landed safely at Essendon Airport with two people - including off-duty Qantas captain Joanne Mein - on board. 

It is understood Ms Mein was in the rear seat of the second aircraft and wasn't flying the jet.

A Qantas spokeswoman said the company was deeply upset to hear about the incident at Port Phillip Bay.

"The news has shocked the Qantas and Jetstar pilot communities and everyone’s thoughts are with these families," the spokeswoman said.

"We’ve reached out to those involved and are providing whatever support we can.”

Pilot Stephen Gale owned Jetworks Aviation

With hours passing and no sign of the aircraft wreckage, the rescue mission shifted on Monday to a recovery operation with the two men presumed dead. 

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau planned to interview the surviving pilot of the second plane on Monday afternoon.

Jetworks Aviation, based at Essendon Fields, hosts flight training and joy rides, with one package offering a 45-minute two-jet fighter formation flight.

The business was created for the TV documentary Any Fool Can Fly, which is yet to air, according to the show's website.

The series was set to show a "group of high achievers" attempting to master flying, aerobatics and formation, with Australian comedian Tommy Little among the "student pilots" featured.

Rose, a well-known and experienced drone operator who lived in Surrey Hills, has worked on high-profile TV shows for the Nine and Seven Networks and production company EndemolShine, including on cooking show MasterChef.

License this article

What is AAPNews?

For the first time, Australian Associated Press is delivering news straight to the consumer.

No ads. No spin. News straight-up.

Not only do you get to enjoy high-quality news delivered straight to your desktop or device, you do so in the knowledge you are supporting media diversity in Australia.

AAP Is Australia’s only independent newswire service, free from political and commercial influence, producing fact-based public interest journalism across a range of topics including politics, courts, sport, finance and entertainment.

What is AAPNews?
The Morning Wire

Wake up to AAPNews’ morning news bulletin delivered straight to your inbox or mobile device, bringing you up to speed with all that has happened overnight at home and abroad, as well as setting you up what the day has in store.

AAPNews Morning Wire
AAPNews Breaking News
Breaking News

Be the first to know when major breaking news happens.

Notifications will be sent to your device whenever a big story breaks, ensuring you are never in the dark when the talking points happen.

Focused Content

Enjoy the best of AAP’s specialised Topics in Focus. AAP has reporters dedicated to bringing you hard news and feature content across a range of specialised topics including Environment, Agriculture, Future Economies, Arts and Refugee Issues.

AAPNews Focussed Content
Subscription Plans

Choose the plan that best fits your needs. AAPNews offers two basic subscriptions, all billed monthly.

Once you sign up, you will have seven days to test out the service before being billed.

AAPNews Full Access Plan
Full Access
  • Enjoy all that AAPNews has to offer
  • Access to breaking news notifications and bulletins
  • Includes access to all AAPNews’ specialised topics
Join Now
AAPNews Student Access Plan
Student Access
  • Gain access via a verified student email account
  • Enjoy all the benefits of the ‘Full Access’ plan at a reduced rate
  • Subscription renews each month
Join Now
AAPNews Annual Access Plan
Annual Access
  • All the benefits of the 'Full Access' subscription at a discounted rate
  • Subscription automatically renews after 12 months
Join Now

AAPNews also offers enterprise deals for businesses so you can provide an AAPNews account for your team, organisation or customers. Click here to contact AAP to sign-up your business today.

Download the app
Download AAPNews on the App StoreDownload AAPNews on the Google Play Store