21 Mar 2011

Man dies after light plane crash

5:54 am on 21 March 2011

A man has died after his light plane crashed into the sea at Orewa in Auckland.

The small fixed wing aircraft went down about 800 metres offshore from the Orewa Surf Life Saving club.

There had been reports that two people were onboard, but police say they have ruled this out.

Rescue helicopter advanced paramedic Chris Deacon says his team was called to the scene at about 3pm on Sunday.

He says it appears the pilot died on impact.

Witnesses to the accident have reported seeing the plane stall and fall straight into the sea.

A spokesperson from Surf Life Saving New Zealand, Andy Kent, says there were more than 600 people on Orewa Beach when the plane went down and his lifeguards were on patrol.

He says they believe that the plane was the type that is used for aerobatics and are not sure whether the plane was attempting a manoeuvre.

Mr Kent says people reported hearing the engine stall and the plane then seemed to plummet quickly and hit the water, breaking into many pieces.

Police were still trying to contact the pilot's next of kin on Sunday night.