Yesterday morning a Wanaka based R22 helicopter on a private flight crashed at 1500 metres on Homestead Peak, a 2020 metre peak in the Aspiring National Park north west of Wanaka.The weather at the time appeared favourable for flying.
A fire was reported on the peak by a local farmer who informed the Department of Conservation. While investigating the fire the wreckage of the helicopter was found. This also coincided with the helicopter being reported missing.
There were two men on board, both are believed to be North American, one resident in Wanaka, the other a visitor.
"The crash was unsurvivable and wreckage was spread down the slope approximately 100 metres," says Detective Derek Shaw of the Wanaka Police.
"The impact and subsequent fire have essentially destroyed the helicopter. The area where the crash has occurred is steep alpine snow grass and broken rocky terrain," says Detective Shaw.
The men's bodies were recovered from the site late today by a Police Recovery team supported by Alpine Cliff Rescue personnel from Wanaka.
The CAA has been informed and a two person investigation team is travelling to Wanaka and is expected to arrive today.
Police will support the CAA team and also investigate the cause of the crash and the deaths on behalf of the Coroner.
The names of both men are believed to be known by Police but will not be released until their next of kin overseas have been informed.
For further information please contact:
Detective Derek Shaw
0272 490 254
03 443 7272