Access to a remote beach where five people were killed in a light plane crash in Queensland's far north is proving problematic for rescuers who expect to work through the weekend to retrieve the bodies.
The bodies of the five men remain in the wreckage of the twin-engine Cessna that crashed on a beach during its third attempt to land at Lockhart River aerodrome on Wednesday.
The deceased were all from the Cairns area, police said.
The pilot was aged 38 while the four passengers, from the Queensland government's building unit QBuild in Cairns, were aged 49, 57, 62 and 63.
The eldest was health and safety officer Wayne Ganter, 63, who had spent years in the construction industry, according to The Cairns Post.
The other men named were Mark Rawlings, 49, Wayne Brischke, 57.
Ganter's son Jake described his father of three and grandfather of five, as "first and foremost he was a family man, devoting his time to providing, teaching and making sacrifices for us that we will always be truly grateful for," The Cairns Post reported.
Cape York police inspector Mark Henderson it was a "catastrophic scene" and the crash site could only be accessed via water.
"We are challenged with the tides. High tides are up against the dunes which are preventing access and it is some five kilometres down from the Lockhart River boat ramp," he said.
"The dunes back onto thickery and onto a swamp. It makes access extremely difficult. There is no other access to it via the ground other than light boat during high tide times.
"We will work throughout the day and into the weekend to bring closure for the families."
A Department of Housing & Public Works representative said in a statement that they were shocked and deeply saddened by the tragedy, and the deceased include three QBuild staff and a QBuild contractor.
The weather was appalling at the time, with the Cape York Peninsula town copping heavy rain driven by a low pressure system that's expected to develop into a cyclone by Saturday.
The plane smashed into sand dunes about 7km southeast of the airstrip.