Chopper crash survivior 'determined' to recover

HEATHER SIMPSON
Last updated 09:05 08/07/2014
Sam Kersten
Supplied
FLUNG CLEAR: An injured Sam Kersten remains in serious condition in hospital.
CRASH: The Westpac rescue helicopter winches the second hunter up from the site of the crash.
Derek Flynn
CRASH: The Westpac rescue helicopter winches the second hunter up from the site of the crash.

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Seriously injured Sam Kersten is being positive and determined to make a full recovery, his father-in-law says.

Kersten, 31, remains in a serious condition in hospital with multiple injuries to his spine, legs, ribs and hips.

Blenheim businessman Phil Brown said his son-in-law underwent surgery at Wellington Hospital on Sunday night and was stable enough to be transferred by Life Flight to Burwood Hospital in Christchurch yesterday morning.

The father-of-two was being cared for in a specialist spinal unit.

Brown said the surgery was a success and Kersten was stable. "There is hope. We have to wait and see, he is being positive. Sam is strong and very determined.

"He was quite chirpy yesterday morning.

"He doesn't believe [the accident] has happened and he is still here."

Brown said the family were pulling together and his wife, Sarah Kersten, had kept a bedside vigil.

"Sunday was terrible. We have not been to sleep and Sarah does not want to leave his bedside. She has been so strong for Sam."

The Civil Aviation Authority said they had begun an investigation into the accident.

Yesterday the authority's investigators had not attended the crash scene at Grassmere on land owned by farmer Doug Avery.

The authority has released the wreckage to the insurer saying it believes it will not impact on the effectiveness of the safety investigation.

Spokesman Mike Eng said they were gathering information on the accident and were speaking to those involved.

On completion of witness statements the authority will decide on the "most appropriate type of investigation", Eng said.

"The primary aim of a safety investigation is to find out the causes of an accident with a view to reducing the likelihood of a similar accident happening in the future.

"If our preliminary inquiries determine there would be no benefit from a inspecting an accident site, we may choose to conduct an investigation by speaking to pilots, the aircraft manufacturer or other relevant parties."

Eng said investigators would be speaking to pilot Grant McCallum when he had recovered.

A detailed report on the accident will be made public within 90 days.

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