A large-scale search has located debris from a ex-military jet which crashed in Victoria’s Port Phillip Bay on Sunday afternoon.
Numerous water and air craft were seen scouring an area off the Mornington Peninsula after the light aircraft plunged into the bay about 1.45pm.
Its understood two jet trainer aircraft were conducting a formation flight over the bay when they collided.
One of the two-seater aircraft lost control, smashing into the water, while the other was able to return to Essendon Airport.
Raising the alarm, the pilot of the jet which remained airborne following the crash, radioed; ‘Viper 1 … mayday, mayday, mayday”.
The two Viper S-211 Marchetti light aircraft collided about 12 km west of Mornington.
Online flight tracker FlightAware recorded three helicopters and an aircraft circling an area of water northwest of Mount Martha airport for about two hours before the wreckage was located.
A large number of water vessels from Victorian Water Police and volunteer marine rescue units soon arrived at the location.
its understood the pilot and a passenger have not yet been located.
According to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), wreckage of the aircraft has been located.
“At 1:42pm, Air Traffic Services advised the Australian Maritime Safety Authority of a mid-air collision two Viper S-211 Marchetti light aircraft, Victoria,” a AMSA spokeswoman said.
“Search assets have located a wreckage in the area. AMSA will continue to coordinate the search for the two people on board the crashed aircraft, until last light.”
Australian Transport Safety Bureau chief commissioner Angus Mitchell said the bureau would launch an investigation into the incident.
“The ATSB will investigate a mid-air collision between two aircraft over Port Phillip Bay on Sunday afternoon,” he said.
“The ATSB asks anyone who may have witnessed and has footage of the accident, or who has footage
of the aircraft in any phase of their flights, to contact us via the witness form on our website at their earliest convenience.”
Jetworks Aviation offers a 45-minute two S211 fighter jet formation sortie package for $7,750, describing it as a “completely unforgettable experience” .
“The two aircraft will perform some air show style formation aerobatic manoeuvres before separating into the dynamic combat formation,” the company website reads.
“After criss-crossing over the bay in a modern dogfight, the two aircraft will return in formation passing close to Melbourne’s beautiful skyline.”