Trawler finds plane in sea off Great Barrier Island

By Steve Deane, Susan Strongman

The wreckage is picked up in fishing nets by the the fishing vessel San Kawhia off the southern point of Great Barrier Island. Photo / Chris Gorman
The wreckage is picked up in fishing nets by the the fishing vessel San Kawhia off the southern point of Great Barrier Island. Photo / Chris Gorman

Plane wreckage which likely belongs to a man who went missing in his homemade bi-plane earlier this year was found today, and his estranged wife says "it's like a miracle".

The small plane was found in the ocean by the Sanford fishing trawler San Kawhai, an 18.5 meter trawler, near Cape Barrier earlier today.

Earlier this year a homemade bi-plane piloted by 53-year-old Daroish Kraidy went missing near the area. An extensive aerial and sea search failed to find the plane or Mr Kraidy.

Mr Kraidy's wife Judy said she had spoken to police and the news of the plane wreckage was a relief.

"We absolutely knew he was gone out to sea somewhere," she said.

"I always said if he was to be found it would be purely by accident, and that's exactly what happened - it's like a miracle. It's a very big ocean."

The find was reported to police at about 11.10am. It's unclear what kind of plane it is or how long it's been at sea.

However, earlier this year a homemade bi-plane piloted by 53-year-old Daroish Kraidy went missing near the area. An extensive aerial and sea search failed to find the plane or Mr Kraidy.

The plane discovered today contained a body.

Mike Richards of the Civil Aviation Authority said Mr Kraidy's plane was the only missing plane that he knew of in New Zealand.

"It's an unusual case to say the least."


The police boat Deodar III alongside a fishing trawler that caught a light aircraft. Photo / Chris Gorman

Though police had not confirmed the plane was her husband's, Mrs Kraidy said everything pointed towards it being him and it would be good to finally be able to recover his body and get "closure," after four months of mourning.

Mrs Kraidy had moved to Australia with the couple's daughter Krystle after separating from her husband. She had been about to board a plane back to South Africa when she was told her husband's plane had disappeared.

Today Mrs Kraidy said she had this morning discussed plans to scatter her husband's remains at the Kruger National park with her daughter, who lives with her in Port Douglas and her son who lives in Auckland, but she would not head back to New Zealand in the meantime.

"The only reason I would need to be there would be to be with my son, but we've already farewelled Daroish by having a wake. It's just dealing with his remains now."


Daroish Kraidy's bi-plane went missing near the area

At the time Mr Kraidy's plane disappeared his brother Deon, who lives in South Africa, described him as a "very experienced" pilot who used to be a jet pilot in the South African air force.

Mr Kraidy had been a pilot for about 35 years, Deon said, and had lived in New Zealand for the past "13 or 14" years. He had represented New Zealand at the Precision Flying World Championships.

No distress beacon was been activated when the plane went missing.

Trawler operators Sanford declined to comment on the discovery, while Coastguard Northern Region also referred queries to the police.

- NZ Herald

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