Plane missing overnight located, police at scene of crash

The Kaimanawa Ranges. - Photo: DoC

A small plane that went missing overnight has been found and police are at the scene of the crash.

Ardmore Flying School CEO Ian Calvert said the plane had two people on board - both pilots and flight instructors on board employed by the flying school.

The DA 42 twin engine propeller plane was reported overdue last night flying from Palmerston North to Ardmore in Auckland, via Taupō, he said. It had a last known location over the Kaimanawa Ranges.

Radar contact was lost about 9pm on approach to Taupō, Mr Calvert said.

"At this point, we've got no indication what has occurred. They are experienced flight instructors," he said.

"We're keeping in close contact with the families, and we're praying and hoping for a positive outcome."

He said the two instructors were training for a higher licence and were gaining flying hours towards that.

A rescue helicopter was deployed last night but couldn't get to the last known radar location in the Kaimanawa Ranges due to low cloud and drizzle, a Rescue Coordination Centre spokesperson said.

It hadn't been able to take off earlier this morning either, due to the same conditions.

Airways had alerted RCCNZ at 10:30pm last night, and police were notified at 11:50pm.