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Search for missing aircraft – Update 8

Search for missing aircraft – Update 8

An RNZAF Iroquois Helicopter will today search the northern end of the Coromandel Peninsula for the missing aircraft which took off from Ardmore airfield, south-east of Auckland at 11.25am on Tuesday.

Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand (RCCNZ) Mission Coordinator Neville Blakemore said the area had not yet been covered by search teams looking for the aerobatic home-built bi-plane and its sole occupant, a 53-year-old male pilot from Mt Wellington.

The Iroquois was expected to be airborne around 9.30am.

“At the same time, we will be doing a comprehensive review of the search and all the information received by the public to assess what our next steps should be,” Mr Blakemore said.

“If anyone has any further information, or remembers seeing the plane on Tuesday, please contact RCCNZ or the Police.”

Mr Blakemore said the response from the public to RCCNZ’s appeal for information relating to the search had been outstanding.

Yesterday, five search areas were covered by search teams, comprising Wainuiototo Bay, the eastern side of the Coromandel Peninsula, a bush area to south of Miranda, the Karangahake Gorge between Paeroa and Waihi, and the northern end of the Firth of Thames.

The missing plane was heading in a north-easterly direction when it disappeared from radar, shortly after take-off around 11.30 on Tuesday morning. No distress beacon was activated, but 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 is likely to have continued flying in a north-easterly direction.

Anyone who saw the plane on Tuesday (25 March) or had any information that might assist the search should contact RCCNZ on 0508 472 269 or the Police.

ENDS

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