Two people are dead and another critically injured after a light plane and a helicopter crashed after colliding in mid air over Paraparaumu, Kapiti Coast, late this morning.
Emergency Services including Civil Aviation air accident investigators are on site. The crash scenes are cordoned off and police are asking sightseers to stay away from the Kapiti Road and Dennis Taylor Court areas which border Paraparaumu Airport.
Wreckage from the helicopter has gone through the roof of the timber yard part of Placemakers building in Kapiti Road. The light plane has crashed on the roof of a house about 200m away in Dennis Taylor Court.
Debris from both aircraft is spread over a wide area. Police and air accident investigators are appealing to residents not to touch any debris, as these items will be critical to the crash investigation.
People who find debris on their properties should immediately call Kapiti Police on a dedicated number of: 04 296 6805. Police officers will then visit properties to recover the exhibits. People who witnessed the crash, which happened at 11.13am, should also contact this number so that they can be interviewed.
Inspector John Spence, Kapiti Mana Area Police Commander, said the names of those killed will not be released until they are formally identified and next of kin advised.
The pilot and passenger in the helicopter, both men, were killed. The male pilot and only occupant of the Cessna aircraft was flown to Wellington Hospital by Westpac with critical injuries.
Airspace on the northern side of Paraparaumu Airport has been closed until at least 6pm tonight while air accident investigators are at the scene. Scheduled flights can still land at the airfield.
Inspector Spence said the crash happened at a busy time on a sunny Sunday. "It is a tragedy that the crash happened and that people have died. We are extremely fortunate however that no-one on the ground was injured.
"We've had reports of householders running from their homes as wreckage fell from the skies. Placemakers store has also been able to account for all their staff and customers."
Inspector Spence said Placemakers store has been closed, and at least four homes in Dennis Taylor Court evacuated.
Cordons have been put in place on Kapiti Road, at the intersections of Kapiti and Arawhata Road, Cedar Drive and Kapiti Road, and Langdale and Campbell Roads.
All non essential traffic is being asked to stay away from the area. Mazengarb Road and the route through Otaihanga are being used as detours.
Inspector Spence said emergency services and air accident staff and specialist police disaster victim identification officers are making a meticulous scene examination. It will be several hours before the bodies can be removed.
Inspector Spence said Victim Support volunteers and other agencies including the Kapiti Coast District Council are providing assistance, especially to those residents who cannot return to their homes.
Media note: A media briefing will be held in the carpark of Kapiti School, Paraparaumu, at 3pm today. The school is on the corner of Rimu Road and Kapiti Road, directly opposite the Kapiti Police Station.
Inspector John Spence will be leading the media briefing.
Released by Kaye Calder,
Wellington Police District communications manager
Mobile: 0274 373 020