‘Friendly, well liked’ pilot of missing plane identified

THE pilot of a plane missing off the coast of South Stradbroke Island has been identified as Marcel van Hattem, an avid flyer.

A major search operation is still underway to find Mr van Hattem, along with an unidentified female passenger, after the Yak52 plane they were flying in disappeared after what was supposed to be a short flight around South Stradbroke Island.

Friends have described Mr van Hattem, a Dutch national who lived on the Gold Coast, as a very capable pilot and a well liked member of the Southport Flying Club.

 

Marcel van Hattem, the pilot missing off the coast of Stradbroke Island.
Marcel van Hattem, the pilot missing off the coast of Stradbroke Island.

 

Aerodrome Manager Steve Rance described Mr van Hattem as very friendly and well-loved pilot.

"Marcel was a well-respected member of the club," he said.

"He was very friendly, very well-liked member of the Southport Flying club and had been with us for about six years.

"He was a very capable and well-loved pilot."

 

A shocked neighbour of Mr van Hattem said he was a very adventurous person, who loved flying.

"If he has died, he died doing what he loved - he absolutely loved flying," they said.

"He was a great neighbour and a very adventurous sort of guy.

"He was a thinker and loved life.

"He was just a great guy and really well liked."

The neighbour said the pilot had flown his plane low over their street on the northern Gold Coast.

"That's the sort of guy he was," he said.

"I only found out about six months ago that he had a plane because he asked me to come up with him. I never got around to doing it."

The search continues off both north and south Stradbroke Island.



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