New Zealand mobile telecommunications company 2degrees is mourning the loss of its CEO Eric Hertz and his wife Kathy. It is believed that they died in a plane crash over the long weekend.
The crash occurred on Saturday afternoon near Kawhia on New Zealand's north island.
Latest reporting on the accident states that the plane appears to be 60 metres underwater in Kawhia Harbour.
2degrees director of corporate affairs Mat Bolland thanked the public for their support and condolences, and said that staff were in a state of shock.
"We are going to miss Eric's leadership, friendship, and dry sense of humour. He was our 'honorary Kiwi' and greatly respected by our 760 staff," he said in a statement.
Hertz, a US citizen with New Zealand residency and a long history in the telecommunications industry dating back to the 1970s, joined 2degrees in July 2009 as the company's CEO shortly before the mobile telco launched in August 2009. Hertz had also been the president and CEO of software company Zumobi, the chief operating officer for Western Wireless, and regional president for AT&T Wireless.
Bolland said that the 2degrees board of directors were working with management to ensure business continuity.