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Search for missing aircraft – Update 9

28 March 2014

Search for missing aircraft – Update 9

The Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand (RCCNZ) is reviewing the results of search operations for the home-built aerobatic bi-plane which disappeared from radar after taking off from Ardmore airfield, with a 53-year-old pilot aboard, at 11.25am on Tuesday (25 March).

An RNZAF Iroquois helicopter today completed searching the eastern side of Coromandel Peninsula, and RCCNZ Mission Coordinator Dave Wilson said all search activities carried out this week were being reviewed to identify any areas warranting further investigation.

“We are still receiving reported sightings from members of the public who believe they may have seen the plane on Tuesday and these are being evaluated as we consider the next steps in the operation,” he said.

“We are endeavouring to build a full picture of the route the pilot may have taken and this will determine areas that may require further investigation.”

The process is likely to continue into the weekend.

Yesterday, five search areas were covered by search teams, comprising Wainuiototo Bay, the eastern side of the Coromandel Peninsula, a bush area to the 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. 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 has any information that might assist the search should contact RCCNZ on 0508 472 269 or the Police.

ENDS

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