FOR more than 30 hours, Ryan Kalsbeek's broken body and mangled motorcycle lay hidden by a curtain of dense bushland.
As thousands of motorists passed unknowingly by the scene of a horror high-speed crash on Nelson Bay Road, Mr Kalsbeek's friends and colleagues became increasingly concerned about his whereabouts.
Police said they believed the talented young chef died instantly when his Suzuki GSX 750 motorcycle left Nelson Bay Road on a gentle curve and cannoned into the steep stretch of scrub.
Mr Kalsbeek, 24, was last seen leaving a party in Nelson Bay about 4am on Friday morning.
The crash occurred about two kilometres away, near the Gan Gan Road turnoff.
The party would have seen some farewells - of sorts - though none of those in attendance would have realised they were saying final goodbyes.
Mr Kalsbeek, 24, was due to return to his home town of Canberra today to pursue a career in the air force.
His last shift as a sous chef at the Rock Lobster Restaurant in Nelson Bay, where he had worked for two years, was last Sunday, January 13.
The restaurant's owner, Robyn Bradbury, described Mr Kalsbeek as "a very, very talented young guy".
Ms Bradbury said Mr Kalsbeek loved motorcycles and had a large collection.
"He was passionate about his collection of motorbikes," Ms Bradbury said.
"He was a great young bloke, a really nice kid.
"When people became aware that he was missing they were talking to everyone they possibly could to find out what had happened."
Mr Kalsbeek had been the best man at the wedding of two co-workers and Ms Bradbury said the death had hit many of the staff hard.
It is understood Mr Kalsbeek was reported missing to police on Saturday morning, about the same time as his body was discovered by chance by mountain bike riders travelling along a dirt access road below the crash site.
On Sunday, parts of the motorcycle remained strewn across the site.
A large tree showed signs of impact about two metres above the ground, which dropped steeply beneath the roadway.
Police said the bike had partly disintegrated on impact.