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NZALPA saddened by pilot and instructor deaths

The New Zealand Air Line Pilots’ Association is deeply saddened by the death of two pilots, including a member who was a much respected pilot and instructor.

Peter Callagher, 27, was one of two experienced pilots flying a Diamond DA- 42 Twin Star aircraft when it went missing Saturday evening.

The other instructor on board, Zakir Ali Parkar (Zak), 29, was also killed.

It was understood that the plane had left Palmerston North destined for Taupō. The last known location of the plane was near the Kaimanawa Ranges, 24km south east of Turangi, near where the wreckage of the plane was eventually found.

NZALPA’s Medical and Welfare Director, Captain Andy Pender said Peter was also a much respected member of the NZALPA family and the wider aviation community.

“The loss of Pete will be felt particularly keenly through our membership, particularly amongst pilot colleagues, and those students he helped train at the Ardmore Flying School,” Captain Pender said.

“Although only in his late 20s, Pete came from an aviation family and is the son of Air Traffic Controller Craig Callagher, also an NZALPA member.

“Pete was an active supporter of his peers in the general aviation industry, and showed clear leadership qualities. He was a pilot and colleague destined for great things.”

With the Transport Accident Investigation Commission (TAIC) now leading the investigation into the crash, along with a parallel investigation by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), Captain Pender could not speculate on the cause of the tragedy.

“However, a number of NZALPA’s Medical and Welfare team who are specially-trained pilot volunteers, were quickly mobilised and are at Ardmore to support staff and student pilots.

“All over New Zealand, particularly throughout our close-knit aviation community, our thoughts are with Pete and Zak’s family, friends and colleagues. It is truly a sad and reflective time for New Zealand aviation,” Captain Pender said.

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