Queenstown helicopter pilot killed in crash near Wanaka


Police have yet to release the name of a female chopper pilot killed in a helicopter crash near Wanaka last night.

Police stated in a news release that the pilot, who was flying a Robinson 22, was a 52-year-old female from Queenstown.

The crash happened on the Criffel Range, near Wanaka.

An eyewitness reported the helicopter dropped suddenly out of the sky after its motor appeared to stop.

Police, in a statement released at 1.32am today, say enquiries indicate that the deceased and a friend had earlier flown from Queenstown to Wanaka Airport to pick up a light aircraft.

Both then returned to Queenstown via the Cardrona valley, one flying the plane and the other flying the helicopter.
“The deceased’s friend arrived in Queenstown unaware of any incident involving the R22 helicopter.”

Police praised the response by emergency services last night.

Wanaka police SAR coordinator, Sergeant Aaron Nicholson, said that police, fire, St John and LandSAR personnel responded with some urgency with support from a Dunedin rescue chopper and a helicopter from Queenstown.