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Helicopter wreckage found

Helicopter wreckage found

Searchers yesterday located the wreckage of a Hughes 500 helicopter with a sole occupant at 9.15pm in the Milford Area, in a search coordinated by the Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand (RCCNZ).

The helicopter was travelling from Greenstone Valley to Dumpling Hutt on the Milford Track. Contact was last made with the pilot at 4.55pm and it was due to arrive at its destination at around 5.30pm. The pilot was very experienced and familiar with the area. When it did not arrive as planned, another helicopter from the same company began a search for the missing helicopter.

It was joined by two additional helicopters from another company tasked by RCCNZ who searched the route the pilot was thought to have taken and the general area. The helicopter’s emergency locator transmitter had not been activated.

RCCNZ search and rescue mission coordinator Keith Allen said the helicopter was located with about 15 minutes of daylight left. “At 9.15pm the first helicopter located the wreckage at Glade Burn, near the start of the Milford Track.”

“The wrecked helicopter was in steep terrain, approximately 2,750 feet above sea level. The crew of the helicopter who located the wreckage were able to lower a crewman to the ground, but they were unable to locate the pilot. The information from the searcher is that they do not believe the impact was survivable,”

“Our thoughts are with the family of the pilot,” said Mr Allen.

The response to the incident has now been handed over to Police.

ends

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