Search for missing aircraft - Update 2

26 March 2014

The search for a missing aircraft which took off from Ardmore airfield, south-east of Auckland at 11.25am yesterday (25 March 2014) will resume at first light today – approximately 7am.

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. 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.

Following an aerial search yesterday, an Auckland Westpac Trust helicopter will conduct a coastline search of the top part of the Coromandel Peninsular and the Barrier Islands. An RNZAF P3 Orion will today be searching an area to the north and east of Great Barrier Island

RCCNZ Search and Rescue Mission Controller Greg Johnston said a number of sighting reports from the public were being followed up and the search today would focus on the areas mentioned, while consideration would be given to any new information received.

RCCNZ confirmed the fuel on board the aircraft would have allowed a maximum range of around 350 km. Fuel would have been exhausted by about 1.30pm.

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

Checks were also made of airfields in the region.

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

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

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