Searchers are from midday scaling back their hunt for the two crew of a freight plane which is believed to have gone down in the sea off Kapiti Island last night.
Senior Sergeant Mike Coleman, Kapiti Police, says aerial, boat and shoreline searches have found no sign of Barry Cowley, 57, of Kaiapoi, Christchurch and his colleague Paul Miller, 50, from Auckland, who were crewing the Parcel Line Express service from Christchurch to Palmerston North last night.
Mr Coleman says Coastguard crews have now returned to shore after combing the coast from Paraparaumu to north of Peka Peka.
"We believe the Convair plane may have gone down off Kapiti Island but thereâ€™s no visible sign of it so weâ€™ve called the crews back in," Mr Coleman says. "A helicopter will sweep the area again this afternoon with the air accident investigator, and weâ€™ll look at putting the fixed wing aircraft up again tomorrow."
In the meantime police and search and rescue staff will continue checking the shoreline, particularly around the change of tides, for any fresh signs of the aircraft.
Mr Coleman says itâ€™s possible members of the public may find wreckage or other crash debris washed up on the beaches.
"People who find plane wreckage should not touch it, but note the details and contact Kapiti Police or the Police Central Communications Centre in Wellington and give us the location," he says.
"If you find items of freight such as courier bags, parcels, mail or labels, then thatâ€™s a different matter. If theyâ€™re small, pick them up, note the location you found them and bring them to the Kapiti Police Station on the corner of Rimu and Kapiti Roads, Paraparaumu."