A pilot who was forced to ditch his light plane into the sea south of Whangarei has been rescued.
A member of the public reported seeing the Cessna crash into the ocean about one kilometre offshore from the Ruakaka Surf Club just after midday on Thursday.
Lifeguards were able to haul the 52-year-old pilot from the sea within five minutes. He was the sole occupant and escaped without serious injury.
The Northern Life Saving Manager, Dean Storey, said the man was flying from Ardmore to Whangarei when the plane's engine failed.