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Search for missing aircraft – Update 1

Search for missing aircraft – Update 1

The search for a missing aircraft which took off from Ardmore airfield, south east of Auckland at 11.25am today (25 March 2014) will resume tomorrow after no sign of the plane was found today.

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

The Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand (RCCNZ) has received an update on the fuel on board the aircraft, giving it a maximum range of around 300km. Fuel would have been exhausted by about 1.30pm.

Today the Auckland Westpac Trust helicopter flew to the last known radar position and searched the surrounding area, with a RNZAF P3 Orion searching the Firth of Thames.

Checks have also been made of airfields in the region,.

RCCNZ Search and Rescue Mission Controller Neville Blakemore said no distress beacon had been activated.

“We have received a number of reports from the public of a plane flying at low level and we are analysing these to establish where we should be concentrating search resources. Searching will resume at first light.”

Anyone with sightings of the distinctive blue and white aircraft can contact RCCNZ on 0508 472 269 or the Police.

ENDS

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