Missing Cessna VH-MDX : Where in Barrington Tops is it?

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.

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Volunteering in the Outdoors

One thing that I’m convinced about in this crazy life, is that we’re not just put here on this amazing planet for our own benefit.

Something as simple as giving someone a smile or a random act of kindness, has the ability to give light to someone’s life. I consider myself so incredibly blessed in many ways, that when faced with the opportunity to help out, I find myself saying, ‘How can I not …?’

Looking for how you can be involved?

Looking for how you can be involved?

So when I first got into the outdoors over 10 years ago, I was excited to hear about the work of the Bushwalkers Wilderness Rescue Squad or BWRS and to be able to join this great squad.

Yes, a small little band of quiet achievers, we have tended not to promote ourselves in the past, but recently we came to the attention of the Sydney Morning Herald journalist Nick Ralston.

After a couple of phone interviews and an early morning photo shoot, with the help of our colleagues from Police Rescue and Bomb Disposal Squad, a great article appeared in last weekend’s newspaper.

So, if you found yourself reading that article, or reading this and wondering how you can use your existing outdoors and wilderness skills to help out in the Community… why not look to see if there’s a volunteer land search and rescue unit in your area, like us!

There’s probably loads of different organisations out there who are looking for keen volunteers. Anything from Landcare and Bush Regeneration groups, to Scouts and Girl Guides. The skills you have learnt over the years are valuable and you have the ability to share these with others and pass on the knowledge, or simply offer some muscle where it’s most needed.

… oh and if you’re in New South Wales, Australia, we’d love to hear from you!