Police have found human remains in the search for five people who died when a helicopter crashed into the ocean off Port Stephens earlier this month.
Divers found debris off the coast of Anna Bay on Sunday, but have been working this week to confirm it belonged to the doomed aircraft.
Police on Thursday spoke with the next of kin of the five people on board the helicopter, after human remains were found among the debris - now confirmed to be the aircraft - about 30m below the surface on Wednesday afternoon.
The bodies have been in the water for almost three weeks - the Newcastle Herald understands the person or people whose remains have been found have not been identified.
A pilot and four passengers were aboard the Bell UH-1H Iroquois helicopter when it disappeared from the Williamtown air traffic control radar at 6.49pm on September 6.
Queensland men Jamie Ogden and Grant Kuhnemann, married Sydney couple Jocelyn Villanueva and Gregory Miller, and the chopper's pilot and owner David Kerr - also a Queensland man - died in the crash.
No emergency beacon signals or mayday calls were detected before the aircraft went down.
Police have been searching for the wreck and missing people since the crash, but have been hampered at times by wild wind and ocean conditions.
They suspended the search early last week as unfavourable weather and seas struck the region.
Parts of the helicopter wreckage - the tail rotor and airframe - were spotted by emergency crews about 8km south of Fingal Bay two days after the tragedy, but they sank before being collected.
The search has been a joint effort involving personnel from NSW Police Marine Area Command, Port Stephens-Hunter Police District, Australian Maritime Safety Authority, Australian Transport Safety Bureau, Australian Defence Force, Westpac Rescue Helicopter and NSW Marine Rescue.
Royal Australian Navy coastal mine-hunter vessel HMASHuon also provided support to help find and identify the debris under water near Birubi Point.
NSW Police detectives are continuing to investigate, working with the Australian Transport Safety Bureau.
Police will prepare a report for the Coroner.
The Air Transport Safety Bureau said on Thursday afternoon its investigation was progressing - witnesses had been interviews and a review of the pilot, aircraft maintenance records, air traffic control data and detailed weather conditions had begun.
An interim report is expected in "several weeks' time".
"The ATSB will now assess the value in recovering wreckage to aid in the investigation," the organisation said in a statement.
"This class of helicopter does not have, nor is it required to have crashworthy recording devices fitted such as a flight data recorder or cockpit voice recorder."
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