Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 

New focus in search for missing aircraft

New focus in search for missing aircraft

Rescuers are focusing on two new areas in the search for a microlight and its 86-year-old pilot, missing since yesterday morning on a flight from Auckland to Ashburton.

The Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand (RCCNZ) began the search for pilot Geoff Smale after he was reported overdue by a friend in Ashburton about 5pm yesterday. Four helicopters have today been searching a large area between the North Shore and Ashburton, without sign of Mr Smale.

RCCNZ Search and Rescue Officer Neville Blakemore said new radar tracking information provided by Airways Corporation showing an aircraft leaving from Auckland at about the same time as Mr Smale, then disappearing from radar about an hour later just South of Taharoa in the Waikato, was now being followed up.

The information was roughly consistent with the estimated timing, speed and possible route of Mr Smale’s aircraft. A helicopter from the Taranaki Rescue Helicopter Trust based in New Plymouth had been tasked and would carry out a thorough search of the area, Mr Blakemore said.

Meanwhile, a fixed wing aircraft from the Phillips Rescue Trust in Hamilton will also fly along a path between Auckland , Stratford and D’Urville Island in the Marlborough Sounds, after additional radar data provided by Airways showed an aircraft disappearing from radar about 1pm near D’Urville. This was also roughly consistent with the estimated timing and possible route of Mr Smale’s aircraft.

Mr Smale, an experienced pilot, reportedly departed North Shore airfield about 11am yesterday, with an ETA in Ashburton of about 3pm. The aircraft has a 9 hour flying range and is capable of 135 knots (250kph), so was able to complete the flight without refuelling stops. The weather along the route yesterday was good overall, with a few cloudy patches.



Weather today is generally good for searching, although there is fog in Canterbury .

Mr Blakemore said Mr Smale had made the trip previously without incident.

The missing aircraft, registration number ZK-SML, is categorised as performance microlight, but looks like a small plane. The aircraft is white with red detailing. The aircraft is understood to be about 18 months old and has been professionally maintained.

Mr Smale is carrying a personal locator beacon, radio, radar transponder and cellphone. The beacon has not been activated and attempts to contact Mr Smale through other communications channels have been unsuccessful.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

National Terrorism Threat Level Moves To Medium
Medium is defined as a terrorist attack is assessed as feasible and could well occur. The new level remains higher than it was before the 15 March terrorist attack when the threat level was low. More>>

SCOOP COVERAGE: CHRISTCHURCH MOSQUES TERROR ATTACK


Environment Aotearoa 2019: Report Warns Environment In Serious Trouble

The report is jointly produced by the Ministry for the Environment and Statistics New Zealand, and is a follow on from the last report in 2015.

The report says the way New Zealanders live and make a living is having a serious impact on the environment, and the benefits New Zealanders get from being in nature, though not measured or quantified, could be lost. More>>

 

Gordon Campbell: On Scrapping The Capital Gains Tax

As PM Jacinda Arden said yesterday, there was no point in Labour bringing a proposal into the House that it didn’t have the votes to get passed. Looking back, maybe she always felt this outcome to be inevitable... More>>

ALSO:

City Rail Link: Billion Dollar Cost Rise (And Preferred Bidder)

The revised cost envelope for completing the entire Auckland City Rail Link project now totals $4.419 billion. The revised cost has yet to be endorsed by the project’s sponsors (the Crown and Auckland Council). More>>

ALSO:

Meth Scare: Debt Write-Off For HNZ Meth Testing Evictions

People living in Housing New Zealand (HNZ) properties who were wrongly evicted because of flawed methamphetamine contamination policies will have their related debts with the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) written off. More>>

ALSO:

RNZ Report: Fears Grow For NZ Nurse Kidnapped In Syria

A New Zealand nurse working for the Red Cross was captured by Islamic State (IS) in Syria more than five years ago, and there are now public pleas for any information that could help bring her home. More>>

ALSO:

Streets Blocked In London: Climate 'Extinction Rebellion' Reaches Aotearoa

Across the world, thousands of people are taking part in a rebellion to avert climate, ecological and human catastrophe. This begins in Aotearoa New Zealand today. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels