A trawler has fished up a small plane with a body inside off Great Barrier Island this morning.
A Rescue Co-ordination Centre spokesman said the aircraft was likely to be that of Auckland man Daroish Kraidy, who went missing in his aerobatic biplane after taking off from Ardmore Airport in March.
The plane was brought up in the nets of the Sanford trawler San Kawhai, about 16 kilometres from Cape Barrier.
Police said the "surprising catch" was reported at 11.10am.
Rescue Co-ordination Centre senior search and rescue leader Neville Blackmore said Kraidy's plane was the only one known to be missing in that area.
He confirmed that a body was in the plane, which was being taken to a bay on the island
An extensive search of the area for the missing plane in March failed to turn up anything.
Police said they were in the process of contacting Kraidy's family and close associates, in the event that the plane was his.
The trawler was met at Great Barrier by the police launch Deodar, assisted by harbourmaster staff on a barge with lifting equipment to recover the plane and its contents. Deodar crew members have reported the plane was severely damaged and that ''some features are consistent with the plane that was last piloted by missing Auckland man Daroish Kraidy''.
From there it has been taken to Auckland's Marine Rescue Centre, weather and sea conditions permitting. A detailed inspection of the wreckage and its contents will be carried out tomorrow by a Police Disaster Victim Identification expert and Civil Aviation Authority personnel.
Kraidy's family said in May that he had suffered from depression for years and they believed he deliberately flew out to sea, in a "copycat" of the Malaysia Airlines MH370 disappearance. He had discussed the disappearance of the Malaysian airliner with a friend just two days before his last flight.
His wife, Judy said this afternoon that she had feared the wreckage would never be found.
"I've just been speaking with police, I'm in shock with relief," she said.
"I always said that if he was ever found it would be by accident."
She said her husband would be cremated and, as he wished, his ashes would be scattered over his favourite dam in the Kruger National Park in South Africa.