Glenorchy crash firm staff ‘humbled’

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Glenorchy Air co-owner Robert Rutherford says he and company staff are “humbled” by the support they have received since senior pilot Ray Crow was killed in the crash of one of its aircraft last month.

Rutherford says he “can’t say enough good things” about the local aviation community and Queenstown Airport Corporation.

“We’re quite humbled by the response from the general aviation community and further afield.

“The support has been very helpful.”

Crow was killed and two passengers injured when the Piper Cherokee 6 crashed just north of the Poolburn Reservoir near Alexandra during a scenic flight on August 5. The Transport Accident Investigation Commission (TAIC) is investigating.

Rutherford says it’s been “quite a busy time” since the company resumed operations on August 16, and he’s sure the routine has helped staff come to terms with what had happened.

“You never get over it, but I’m sure everyone is outside the curve now.”

The passengers, Sarah and Erik Hoffmann, made a good recovery and returned home to the United States about a month ago.

Commission investigators haven’t sought information from the company since interviewing staff and gathering documents last month, he says.

Although investigators have made some comments on what they had found in their analysis of the wreckage, he has been told “nothing significant”, and does not know what caused the crash.

“These investigations can take up to 18 months.”

Rutherford told mourners at Crow’s funeral service last month that his senior pilot “never cut corners and he never let us down”.

“I’m sure that in the last few moments before he died, he would have done everything he could, and that’s why his passengers survived.”

TAIC chief investigator Tim Burfoot says the investigation is expected to take about a year, but any “serious safety issues” found could be raised before the final report’s release.