Cellphone boss dies in plane crash

2013-03-31 07:55
(File, AP)

(File, AP)

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Wellington - The chief executive of New Zealand cellphone company 2degrees, Eric Hertz, and his wife, Kathy, are believed to have died in a light plane crash on Saturday off the North Island's west coast.

The pilot of the twin-engined Beechcraft Baron radioed Airways New Zealand to report engine failure, and seconds later the plane vanished from radar. The plane ditched in the ocean about 20 kilometres off shore.

2degrees, New Zealand's third largest cellphone company, confirmed that the plane was owned by the chief executive, who was a pilot.

"Although we have limited information, we understand that Eric and his wife, Kathy, were on board, and that they are unlikely to have survived. Our focus now is to support Eric and Kathy's daughter and provide assistance to their family," the company said in a statement.

Waikato police said search operations for the two occupants of the plane would resume at first light. Hertz, a US citizen, joined 2degrees in 2009 and had held previous positions at US telecommunications companies Zumobi, BellSouth and AT&T Wireless.

- SAPA
Read more on:    new zealand  |  air crashes
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