A precision-flying pilot who flew his homemade bi-plane into the sea in a deliberate attempt to take his own life was possibly inspired by the missing Malaysian Airline flight MH370, a coroner has found.
Daroish Kraidy, 53, was under stress from a failing business, had a background of psychiatric issues, and was acting out of character, which had friends and family worried leading up to March 25 this year when he took his own life.
He took off from Ardmore airport in his bi-plane and had been seen flying at high speed in low altitude before the fatal crash later that morning.
Radar contact was lost about five nautical miles north-east of the airport when it seems he turned off his transponder.
A trawler found the plane's wreckage months later in what his estranged wife Judy described as being "like a miracle".
In a report released today, Chief Coroner Neil McLean found that Mr Kraidy took his own life by flying his plane into the sea.
Coroner MacLean said the usual restrictions on publication of the full circumstances should not apply, and it was "better to remove speculation and uncertainty and bring finality to matters".
"The circumstances are so unusual and hopefully so unique that in my view the chances of any public danger consequences can be discounted."
Mr Kraidy, reportedly a former jet pilot in the South African airforce, was a member of the precision flying club and while representing New Zealand won silver in the 1999 Precision Flying World Championships in Hamilton.
The coroner heard evidence that he was an "exceptional" pilot who was usually very careful with pre-flight checks and kept meticulous records.
But in the weeks leading up to his disappearance, he was under stress from his failing business and acting out of character.
There was also evidence of his psychiatric issues dating back to at least October 2003 when his Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) medical certificate was declined due to being diagnosed as depressive and "refusing a psychiatric assessment on principle".
He had a history of suicide threats.
The day he disappeared, text and phone messages to friends, family and acquaintances, all indicated he was "forming an intention to end things" and making arrangements for transferring money out of bank accounts.
Coroner MacLean said the evidence was overwhelming that Mr Kraidy deliberately intended to never return.
"It is possibly no coincidence that these events were in close proximity to the disappearance of the Malaysian Airline flight MH370 and the surrounding speculation about that as friends recall him talking about that incident," the coroner said.
The "fortuitous discovery" of the plane wreckage and the bodily remains brings a further degree of certainty, Coroner MacLean noted.
In a recommendation arising from the case, Coroner MacLean said that the mental health services at Auckland DHB failed to notify the CAA that Mr Kraidy was unfit to fly.
A copy of the coroner's report will be sent to the chief medical officers of all district health boards as well as the New Zealand Medical Association to remind medical practitioners of their obligations under the Civil Aviation Act 1990 to notify CAA of pilots unfit to fly.
Where to get help:
• Lifeline: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)
• Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
• Youth services: (06) 3555 906
• Youthline: 0800 376 633
• Kidsline: 0800 543 754 (4pm to 6pm weekdays)
• Whatsup: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)
• The Word
• Depression helpline: 0800 111 757 (available 24/7)
• Rainbow Youth: (09) 376 4155
• CASPER Suicide Prevention
If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.