DURBAN - KwaZulu-Natal police and the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) intensified their search for a Newcastle pilot and aircraft that went missing near the province's coastal area on Wednesday.
"After 3 days of aerial, maritime and land-based searches, ARCC (Durban Aviation Rescue Co-ordinating Centre) de-escalated search operations after no sign of missing aircraft or pilot. Shoreline Patrols to be conducted by Isimangaliso Wetland Park for the next week," police said on Sunday.
In a statement released on Sunday, NSRI said it would continue to assist the Aeronautical Rescue Coordination Centre (ARCC), by keeping a vigil for a Foxbat Tricycle-Gear Ultra Light Aircraft, call sign ZUPCB, and the 61-year-old Newcastle pilot.
"NSRI rescue stations between St Lucia and East London have been requested by ARCC to keep a vigil and as a precautionary measure to extend the vigil along the coastline to also include as far as both our NSRI stations in Port Alfred and Port Elizabeth. ARCC confirmed that the aircraft was last known to be flying over the coastline in the Mabibi vicinity.
"While it remains unknown if the aircraft went missing on land or at sea the extensive ARCC search, extended between Northern Kwa-Zulu Natal (Sodwana Bay) and Southwards, both on land and at sea, and the vast coastline search, takes into account all possibilities," said NSRI spokesperson Craig Lambinon.