A light plane with two people on board is missing in Taranaki after it failed to make it to Stratford.
A man and woman were travelling in the Zenith 601XL aircraft from Whitianga yesterday afternoon but were reported missing when they did not land at their Taranaki destination.
The pilot had radioed New Plymouth Control Tower at 3:30pm when it was at Mokau reporting poor weather conditions and telling controllers the plane was heading inland.
The last contact with the tower was 30 minutes later when about 40km north east of Whangamomona and the Rescue Co-ordination Centre was advised around 5:30pm that it was overdue.
An aircraft picked up what was believed to be a distress beacon signal coming from an area of rugged terrain, around 4km south of Matau but an air force NH90 helicopter search for four hours but could not find the signal.
Two searchers on foot tried, but failed, to reach the area.
The search will resume this morning.
"There is low visibility which makes searching from the air difficult but we are planning to have a helicopter return to the area shortly after dawn, if conditions allow," said search co-ordinator Mike Roberts.
"Daylight will also allow us to better assess if conditions will allow a ground search."