Matthew Backhouse

Matthew Backhouse is a journalist based in Auckland.

Air Force resumes search for missing biplane

Daroish Kraidy.
Daroish Kraidy.

An Air Force Iroquois helicopter will resume the search this morning for an Auckland man's missing biplane.

Daroish Kraidy's home-built aerobatic plane disappeared from radar detection shortly after it took off from Ardmore airfield about 11.25am on Tuesday.

A police launch, divers, helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft have been involved in the search, but the 53-year-old and his plane remain missing.

Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand (RCCNZ) mission co-ordinator Neville Blakemore said an RNZAF Iroquois helicopter would search the northern end of the Coromandel Peninsula today.

The area had not yet been covered by search teams.

The Iroquois yesterday searched the eastern side of the peninsula.

It was expected to be airborne around 9.30am today.

"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, including Wainuiototo Bay, 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 northeasterly direction when it disappeared from radar.

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 was likely to have continued flying in a northeasterly direction direction.

- APNZ

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