The crew aboard a New Zealand fishing boat today hauled up a surprising and gruesome catch: a small plane with a body inside. Authorities suspect the plane is a 19-foot aerobatic biplane that was home-assembled from a kit and flown by missing Auckland pilot Daroish Kraidy. The crew of the San Kawhai was trawling for fish when they brought up the wreckage in the boat's nets, said a rep for fishing company Sanford. The wreckage was later hoisted aboard a police boat and taken back to Auckland. Police said the plane was severely damaged and that a detailed inspection of it will be carried out tomorrow by officials that include a victim identification expert.
Kraidy's Acro Sport plane is the only plane listed as missing by New Zealand's Civil Aviation Authority. A rep said the Acro is relatively lightweight and made with a metal-and-wood frame that's covered by fabric. Kraidy, 53, took off March 25 from Ardmore Airport near Auckland. Minutes later, his plane disappeared from radar screens, leading authorities to conclude he either switched off the plane's transponder or was flying at a very low altitude. His ex-wife and daughter told Fairfax Media in May they believed his disappearance was deliberate, and that he had battled depression for years. Police said they were in contact with Kraidy's family and friends about the discovery. (Read more New Zealand stories.)