New Zealand helicopter crash: Seven tourists killed, rough weather prevents recovery operations

By on
RTXF3QM
Tourists walk on Fox Glacier on New Zealand's southern island April 9, 2009. Fox Glacier, named by New Zealand's Prime Minister Sir William Fox in 1872, advances one metre a week as it falls 2,600m on it's 13 km journey from the Southern Alps. Reuters/Russell Boyce

A helicopter crashed over the scenic Fox Glacier in New Zealand on Saturday morning killing all seven people aboard. Rough weather and rugged terrain are rendering it difficult for the New Zealand police to reach the wreckage spot and retrieve the bodies.

All six passengers and the pilot have been killed in the crash that took place over the popular tourist spot Fox Glacier located to the west of New Zealand’s South Island, according police. The helicopter, which was a six passenger Eurocopter “Squirrel” operated by a tourism company called Alpine Adventures' flight services, crashed around 10 a.m. local time but the alarm was raised about an hour later.

“Police can confirm that a pilot and six passengers were on board the helicopter and believe no one has survived the crash,” said a statement as cited by the local Television New Zealand.

Inspector John Canning told a local television said that the worsening weather conditions would delay the recovery operations.

“The weather is not good; it's coming in. We hope to get up there and recover the bodies as soon as we can. That may in fact be tomorrow morning if the weather permits,” he said. “It's the top of the glacier and it's heavily crevassed, very rough country and it's going to take a lot of care to get the people out of there.”

A helicopter operator alerted the emergency services on Saturday morning of the crash. According to a spokesperson of a Rescue Co-ordination Centre, four rescue helicopters had been sent to the scrash site at around 11 a.m.

"It wouldn't be a good day to be flying helicopters," the New Zealand Morning Herald quoted Grey District Mayor Tony Kokshoorn as saying. "Everything is against a rescue [mission]. It will be cold up there. And the problem is amplified by the cloud cover".

 

Contact the writer at feedback@ibtimes.com.au, or let us know what you think below.