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Light aircraft ditches in sea

Light aircraft ditches in sea

A search is underway for two people aboard a twin-engined aircraft which ditched in the sea off Kawhia at around 12.20pm Saturday after reporting engine failure.

The Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand (RCCNZ) tasked the Westpac Helicopter from Auckland to investigate the last known position of the aircraft and identified an oil slick and wreckage about 11 nautical miles (20km) north west of the entrance to Kawhia harbour, near Gannet Island.

The aircraft is a twin-engine Beechcraft Baron and was travelling from Ardmore to Timaru. No details are known about the people onboard.

RCCNZ Search and Rescue Mission Controller John Dickson said the aircraft radioed Airways New Zealand to report engine failure shortly before radar contact was lost.

“A helicopter from Phillips Search and Rescue in Hamilton is searching the area, along with a fixed-wing Coastguard aircraft, and a Raglan Coastguard vessel is also on scene and is picking up debris,” he said. ‘Unfortunately there has been no sign found of the people onboard.”

The water in the area is about 60m deep.

ENDS

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