Coromandel searched for biplane

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

Five different areas around the Coromandel have been covered today in the search for a missing plane which left Auckland more than two days ago.

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

Rescue Co-ordination Centre New Zealand mission co-ordinator Dave Wilson said no sign of the missing aircraft had been found.

The Auckland police launch Deodar III and the police national dive squad today completed a grid search of Wainuiototo Bay, after the sighting of a small oil slick yesterday morning.

Also, a RNZAF Iroquois helicopter began a search of the eastern side of Coromandel Peninsula, from Cape Colville down to Matarangi.

Wilson said it was likely to continue tomorrow.

The Westpac Trust Waikato rescue helicopter from Hamilton completed a search of an area of bush to the south of Miranda, near the bottom of the Firth of Thames, and also searched the Karangahake Gorge between Paeroa and Waihi.

Meanwhile, the Philips Trust fixed-wing aircraft, also from Hamilton, completed a search the northern end of the Firth of Thames, and will complete a shoreline search on the western side of Coromandel Peninsula en route back to base this afternoon.

Wilson said the information from the public had been valuable in establishing the search areas.

"Because we do not have any information about the planned route of the aircraft, and it disappeared from radar within minutes of taking off from Ardmore, it's been important to get credible sightings and we'd like to thank the public for their response," Wilson said.

"These sightings have formed the basis of our search areas."

Options for the next stage of the operation would be assessed overnight.

The South African-built aircraft was heading in a northeasterly direction when it disappeared from radar shortly after takeoff.

Fairfax Media