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Search for missing aircraft – Update 4

26 March 2014

Search for missing aircraft – Update 4

The search for the missing aircraft which took off from Ardmore airfield, south-east of Auckland at 11.25am yesterday was today concentrated on an area 300-400m of the east coast of Coromandel Peninsuala, near where a small oil slick was spotted by the Auckland Westpac Trust Rescue Helicopter this morning.

The Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand (RCCNZ) tasked the Auckland Police launch Deodar to investigate but it was unable to locate the small slick, estimated to be around 30m in length. It remains in the area off Wainuiototo Bay searching with sonar, and the help of the Police Dive Squad.

In other searching today, a RNZAF P3 Orion completed a search to the north east of Great Barrier Island, with the Trustpower Rescue Helicopter from Tauranga completing a coastal search between Waihi and Whitianga.

The home-built aerobatic bi-plane, carrying only the 53-year-old male pilot from Mt Wellington, was heading in a north-easterly direction when it disappeared from radar, shortly after take-off. No distress beacon was activated, but the Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand (RCCNZ) launched a search after a friend of the pilot reported concern for his safety.

Reported sightings by members of the public indicate the aircraft may have continued flying in a north-easterly direction.

RCCNZ Search and Rescue Mission Controller Neville Blakemore said searching would continue until nightfall tonight. Further options for continuing the search would be evaluated overnight.

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

ENDS


A final update for the day will be issued at approximately 7pm.

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