Focus for biplane search

MISSING: The home-built, aerobatic biplane.
MISSING: The home-built, aerobatic biplane.

The search for a missing Auckland aerobatic plane and its pilot will today focus on three areas around the Coromandel Peninsula.

The high-performance Acrosport 2 biplane, owned and flown by Dariosh Kraidy, 53, of Auckland went missing after taking off from Ardmore to the south of the city at 11.25am on Tuesday.

The Rescue Co-ordination Centre mission controller Greg Johnston said this morning that the Auckland police launch Deodar III and the police national dive squad would focus on Wainuiototo Bay, near where another search team spotted what looked like a small oil slick yesterday morning.

Subsequent searches failed to find the oil slick again but the police dive squad would today conduct a grid search of the area for any sign of the missing plane.

An air force Iroquois helicopter would search the eastern side of Coromandel Peninsula, from Cape Colville down to Matarangi, while the Philips Rescue Trust helicopter from Hamilton would search a bush area to the south of Miranda near the base of the western side of the Firth of Thames, Johnston said.

The South African-built aircraft was heading in a north-easterly direction when it disappeared from radar, shortly after take-off.