Plane crash claims life of Whitianga man
A man has been confirmed dead following the crash of a light plane in Coromandel bush. He was 78 year old James Albert Evans of Whitianga.
Mr Evans, an experienced aircraft engineer and pilot took off from Whitianga Airport last Friday morning, piloting a two-seater Vans RV-12 bound for Ardmore Airport near Manurewa in Auckland.
It is understood the return journey to Whitianga may have attempted because thick fog at Manurewa meant the aircraft was unable to land at its proposed destination.
The alarm was raised at 4.25 pm when the plane didn't make it back to Whitianga. Its last known position on satellite and radar was in a rugged area of the Coromandel, not far from Coromandel township.
The Auckland-based Westpac Rescue Helicopter wasassigned to search duties, however the weather conditions prevented it getting to the location on Friday and it became involved in the search again on Saturday morning.
A police helicopter was also dispatched to the area to search for the missing plane, and a ground-based party of Search and Rescue volunteers from LandSAR was sent in overnight Friday, bound for the aircraft's last known position.
The search and rescue team located the aircraft in dense bush at 10 am on Saturday and Police later confirmed the pilot was found deceased inside the crashed plane.
The death of James Evans has been referred to the coroner and the Civil Aviation Authority is investigating the crash. Any member of the public who witnessed anything in the area that might relate to the crash is asked to contact the CAA at [email protected]
Photo: Coromandel Forest Park - Krzysztof Golik