Emergency lake landing praised

A helicopter pilot who managed to safely land her stricken craft in Lake Rotorua early yesterday has been praised by police and fellow pilots.

Four people, including Volcanic Air Safaris chief pilot Stephanie Puckrin, were pulled from Lake Rotorua after their craft, a Robinson R44 helicopter, made an emergency landing into the lake, 60 metres from the shoreline.

The incident happened just after 10am in Te Ruapeka Bay near the east end of Bennetts Rd.

Eyewitnesses say they heard a loud bang shortly after the helicopter took off.

Ms Puckrin landed the craft in a shallow area of the lake and managed to keep the craft upright.

Volcanic Air Safaris director Dorien Vroom said Ms Puckrin had done "a fantastic job" landing the craft in the lake.

Rotorua police Senior Sergeant Malcolm Collins praised the pilot's quick thinking. "She did a great job landing it and everyone walked away uninjured. It could have been a lot different if the helicopter had landed on its side."

The Dominion Post