THE wrecked plane believed to hold the bodies of a husband and wife has been located on the sea floor off the coast of Raglan.
Eric Hertz, head of the 2degress mobile phone company, and his wife Kathy were killed when the plane he was piloting ditched into the sea on Saturday.
Sergeant Warren Shaw, of the Waikato police search and rescue squad, said they had been confirming information from the navy’s ocean-mapping equipment.
“Once we were able to identify the item of interest it meant we could narrow our search field considerably and deploy even more specialised equipment to the crash site,” he told Fairfax NZ.
“A team from the police, navy and a Civil Aviation Authority [CAA] crash investigator boarded the Raglan Coastguard’s Gallagher rescue vessel at first light and headed out to the scene and this afternoon confirmation came back that the remote operated underwater vehicle (ROUV) had captured images of the aircraft.”
That was just one small step in the recovery operation.
“What the ROUV has shown us is that the aircraft is upside down at a depth of 56 metres on the ocean floor, which means the agencies involved have not being able to confirm if the occupants, Mr and Mrs Hertz, are on board or not,” he said.
CAA had provided an expert to help identify parts of the aircraft on the sea floor.
“The police and navy are working closely on options to retrieve the occupants,” spokesman Mike Richards said.
“Once this is done, the CAA can start considering ways to carry out the investigation as to establishing possible cause or causes of the accident.”
Meanwhile, Stewart Sherriff, chairman of 2degrees’ American majority owner, Trilogy International Partners, has taken over as its interim chief executive.