The pilot of a downed light plane in the Southern Alps has "probably sadly perished", according to a Westpac Rescue Helicopter spokesperson, as plans to recover the plane have been put on hold on Friday due to the weather.
The spokesperson told 1News that their "takeaway from the debrief yesterday is that there is no way that they could have walked away from that incident, that whoever was flying, that it would have been fatal".
Only the pilot was on board at the time of the crash.
The plane left Franz Josef around 9am on Thursday and was en route to Rangiora when it was reported overdue, Maritime New Zealand said.
The plane put out a distress call at around 11am that day.
The wreckage was located on Thursday afternoon near Mt Nicholson.
On Thursday it was deemed unsafe for rescue crews to try and reach the plane due to bad weather.
A plan was devised overnight for an Alpine Cliff Rescue team to be sent to the site, but it was postponed.
"This has now been put on hold due to winds being above a safe operating level for helicopters," Maritime New Zealand said on Friday morning in a statement.
"Another attempt will be made to reach the location of the crash when the weather improves. The situation will be regularly assessed."