Queenstowner and chopper instructor killed in crash


 A young Queenstown trainee pilot and his Wanaka instructor are the two men killed in a helicopter crash on Wednesday.

The police have named the deceased as 21-year-old Marcus Hoogvliet, of Queenstown, and 31-year-old Wanaka Helicopters pilot Graham Alan Stott, of Wanaka.

Both men were found dead at the scene and their bodies recovered at about 3pm on Thursday, Wanaka senior sergeant Allan Grindell told NZPA.

Search and rescue crews located the wreckage of a Robinson R22 chopper in Mount Aspiring National Park at 9am on Thursday morning after failing to return to Wanaka the day before.

The pair were on a training flight from Wanaka to Haast and back. The chopper was due back at 1pm and when it failed to return, the alarm was raised at 3pm.

Helicopters searching with night vision equipment picked up faint signals from an emergency locator beacon in the national park.

Wreckage was discovered on the Arawhata Saddle, at the head of the Matukituki River – about 50km north-west of Wanaka.

Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand search and rescue mission coordinator Keith Allen says: “Our thoughts are now with the families of both men.”