Port Stephens: Debris found as massive land and sea search launched for man and his dog who went missing during helicopter flight

Debris has been found on the shore of a popular beach after a helicopter went missing in the area more than 24 hours ago. 

A 54-year-old pilot and his dog departed Cessnock airport in New South Wales before vanishing en route to Wallace Island near Kempsey at 8:50am Thursday morning. 

Police have since launched a massive land and sea rescue operation around Port Stephens with assistance from the Marine Area Command.

The pilot radioed into an air control tower to confirm that he was taking the coastal route and there are suspicions that he may have encountered bad weather.

It is understood that debris has been found on Bennetts Beach, a stretch of sand immediately north of Yacaaba Headland, according to the Daily Telegraph

A massive land and sea search has been launched by the Port Stephens-Hunter police department to find a missing helicopter carrying a 54-year-old pilot and his dog

The Port Stephens-Hunter police department confirmed that it had ‘commenced inquiries’ after receiving reports of the missing pilot and his dog.

Officers had searched parts of the Yacaaba Headland on Thursday before suspending the operation until Friday morning after failing to find anything. 

An organised effort resumed on Friday morning with the assistance of water police as the search area widens. 

The 54-year-old pilot had refuelled at Cessnock airport after an earlier trip from Kosciuszko before he vanished.