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DEVELOPING NEWS: infonews.co.nz can confirm 2Degrees CEO Eric Hertz is missing tonight following a plane crash off the coast of Kawhia of which he owns.
However we can not confirm if he was onboard although an upset spokesman for the mobile phone company, Matt Boland, refused to speak to infonews.co.nz, saying he could not comment on whether his boss was on board the plane.
Calls to Hertz's mobile are going unanswered.
RCCNZ Search and Rescue Mission Controller John Dickson said this evening the area had been intensively searched using helicopters, a Coastguard fixed-wing aircraft, and a Raglan Coastguard vessel.
"We are confident that if the people onboard had been on the surface, they would have been found," Mr Dickson said.
"This is obviously an extremely difficult time for the families of those involved and our thoughts are with them."
Auckland's Westpac rescue helicopter was been sent to the last known position of the aircraft and identified an oil slick and wreckage about 11 nautical miles (20km) north west of the entrance to Kawhia harbour, near Gannet Island.
The aircraft was a twin-engine Beechcraft Baron.
Intensive care paramedic Russell Clark aboard the Auckland Westpac Rescue helicopter told Fairfax conditions were perfect when they reached the area of the search.
“All we could see were aircraft doors and bits and pieces,” he said.
“It is definitely not in one piece and it is in a fairly deep piece of water. Lots of debris around.”
He said there was a boat in the area but they had seen nothing.
The water in the area is about 60m deep.
This is a developing situation....