Two Australians killed in helicopter crash at New Zealand's Fox Glacier

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A photograph released by New Zealand police on November 21, 2015 shows the remains of the helicopter embedded in the crevasse at Fox Glacier following a crash killing all seven on board. Rescuers had found the wreck of the helicopter on the west coast of New Zealand's South Island, but were unable to reach it due to difficult terrain, police said in a statement. Reuters/New Zealand Police/Handout via Reuters

Two Australians from New South Wales are confirmed to have died in the helicopter accident that took place on Saturday at New Zealand’s Fox Glacier. Adverse weather conditions have compelled rescue teams to suspend plans to recover the bodies.

Four Britons along with an Australian man and a woman as well as Pilot Mitch Gameren, 28, have been killed in the fatal accident that occurred on Saturday. The wreckage from the accident is reportedly stuck in a deep crevasse of the glacier, which is a popular tourist spot located in New Zealand’s South Island.

The two Australians who lost their lives in the accident have been identified as 27-year-old Sovannmony Leang and 29-year-old Josephine Gibson. The four Britons have been identified as Andrew Virco, 50, Katharine Walker, 51, Nigel Edwin Charlton, 66, and Cynthia Charlton.

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop expressed her sympathies for the families of the victims. The single-engine helicopter “Squirrel” was a part of a tour plan organised by Fox Glacier Heliservices, which is also known as Alpine Adventures. The firm issued a formal statement saying, “’Fox Heliservices’ thoughts are with the families of the passengers and pilot. The pilot was a very valued member of our team,” The Guardian reports.

Rough weather conditions are hampering the recovery of the bodies. According to authorities, a paramedic sent to the site confirmed that there are no survivors. So far three bodies have been recovered and sent to a mortuary located near the crash site. But formal identification of the bodies can take a number of days.

The current weather condition at the Fox Glacier has been described as “dangerous” by the police and informed that it could take a number of days for the rescue teams to retrieve all the seven dead bodies.

"The weather has turned bad at the top of the glacier,"  ABC quoted Inspector John Canning as saying. "The conditions up there are dangerous, so we've got to take our time and ensure the safety of our staff is paramount. Our plan is to go forward and recover the remaining bodies up there in the next day or so. It could take two or three days."

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