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Search for missing aircraft

Picture from Trademe dated March 2014

25 March 2014

Search for missing aircraft

The Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand (RCCNZ) is calling for any sightings of a home-built acrobatic bi-plane which took off from Ardmore airfield, south east of Auckland, at around 11.30ambut disappeared from radar.

RCCNZ Search and Rescue Mission Controller Neville Blakemore said the distinctive blue and white, open cockpit, twin winged aircraft has a potential range of around 700km with a full tank of fuel, which would have been exhausted at around 2pm.

The plane, carrying only the 53-year-old male pilot from Mt Wellington, was initially heading in a north-easterly direction toward Ponui Island when it disappeared from radar, shortly after take-off.

Mr Blakemore said the man’s partner raised the alarm after concerns for his safety. Police are assisting with the search.

“No distress beacon has been activated but this is being treated as a distress situation,” Mr Blakemore said.

“We have checked with airfields in the region and there have been no reports of the plane landing. The plane would have been flying at low level and we would like anyone who has seen it to contact us so we can establish the likely route it has taken.”

RCCNZ can be contacted on: 0508 472 269.

ENDS

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