Queenstown chopper crash victims named

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Two men have been killed in a helicopter crash near Queenstown this afternoon.

Stephen Anthony Nicholson Combe, 42, of Wanaka, and James Louis Patterson Gardner, 18, of Queenstown, were found dead at the scene of the crash.

Rescue Co-ordination Centre New Zealand spokesman Steve Rendle says the Robinson 44 machine, operated by local company Over the Top, was reported overdue about 2.30pm.

A search involving three helicopters was launched.

The helicopter left Queenstown bound for the Lochy River area, in the Eyre Mountains southwest of the resort.

Rescue Coordination Centre’s Keith Allen says the wreckage was found in the Lochy River basin shortly after 4pm.

The two men onboard, from Queenstown and Wanaka, didn’t survive the crash.

“This is obviously a tragic outcome and our thoughts are very much with the families of those involved,” Allen says in a statement.

Otago Daily Times