Family and friends have paid tribute to two popular locals who died in separate transport accidents on the same day last week.
Argentinian woman Carolina Patron Costas, 23, died when her car veered off Malaghans Road, near Arrowtown, early last Thursday morning and hit a poplar tree. No other cars were involved.
Later that day, 52-year-old Julian Kramer, who was known locally as Julianne, died while flying a friend’s Robinson R22 helicopter during a private flight over the Criffel Range, near Wanaka.
At Kramer’s funeral at City Impact Church yesterday, friends and family recalled a gentle, kind, tenacious and caring person who – as one of the country’s best light aircraft aviators – was a great flying teacher.
Kramer was the chief flying instructor at the Wakatipu Aero Club. With more than 9000 hours’ flying time,
Kramer also carried out Civil Aviation Authority regulatory responsibilities for the club’s commercial operations, Air Wakatipu.
In later life, Kramer preferred to be known as a woman.
CAA standards development and training officer Carlton Campbell says Kramer was “one of the most courageous people that we’ve ever met”.
“I doubt that any of us could face as many challenges with as much courage or dignity as Julianne.”
Meanwhile, Costas’ father Jose, mother Magdalena and brother Jose Jnr flew to Queenstown and on Tuesday attended a mass at Arrowtown’s Catholic Church. They then laid a cross and flowers at the accident scene.
Jose Jnr says: “Carolina loved Queenstown and New Zealand, when I talk to her she found a place in life here.”
Her brother says everybody loved Carolina, including staff at Millbrook Resort where she worked.
The youngest of seven children, she had graduated from Buenos Aires’ Catholic university with a law degree before setting off to travel the world.
Jose Jnr says the mass and flower-laying means “peace for the family, for our hearts”.
Millbrook staff planted a rose and erected a plaque to Carolina in the hotel grounds yesterday afternoon.
Also on the same day as the tragedies, a Queenstown family of three narrowly avoided the same fate when a 17-year-old youth lost control of his car on Lower Shotover Road near the Spence Rd junction, past the Shotover Bridge.
The youngster’s car became airborne but landed on the family’s car bonnet after the father slammed on the brakes.