'Broken' plane delays yacht search

The search for seven people missing on the historic schooner Nina was delayed this morning because an aeroplane was "broken".

"There's been a bit of a delay because the aeroplane that they were going to take isn't able to fly," a Maritime New Zealand spokeswoman said this morning.

The agency was told the plane was "broken" and understood a helicopter would be brought in to assist the search.

The helicopter was preparing for take-off from Hamilton at 11.30am.

"It will be heading to Port Waikato first and then doing a shoreline search down to New Plymouth. That should take about three to four hours," the spokeswoman added.

Mission Controller Neville Blakemore said last night the search of Northland coastline had proved unsuccessful.

Maritime NZ said there were seven people on board the schooner Nina, six Americans (three men aged 17, 28 and 58, and three women aged 18, 60 and 73) and a British man aged 35.

Navigator David Dyche is among those missing.

"To date, the RCCNZ has coordinated two extensive sea-based searches based on different scenarios, covering a combined area of 500,000 square nautical miles," the agency added.

"The schooner Nina, built in 1928, left Opua on 29 May and has not been heard from since 4 June, when the vessel was about 370 nautical miles west-north-west of Cape Reinga."

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