Chopper crash survivors named

Last updated 18:51 18/08/2014
Mark Sedon
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'LOOKING UGLY': Injured Lake Hawea ski guide Mark Sedon is able to crack a smile from his hospital bed with friend Mark Thomas after surviving a fatal helicopter crash on Mount Alta near Wanaka.

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Passengers who were on the fatal helicopter crash on Mt Alta near Wanaka on Saturday have been named by Auckland's St Paul's Church.

Auckland man Jerome Box, 52, died when the chopper he and a group of four heli-skiers were flying in crashed.

The others aboard were skiers Dave Reid, Dave Bensley, Craig Peirce and Greg McLeod along with pilot, Dave Matthews and guide, Mark Sedon. 

Also on the ski-trip was Jonny Grant, Phil Skinner, Logan Batts, Ben Green and Steve Copley, the church says.

Sedon, a Lake Hawea ski guide, is in good spirits in Dunedin Hospital. He broke two lumbar vertebrae and four ribs in the crash. 

Sedon said he had been overwhelmed by all the messages of support he had received.

''He may not be looking as pretty as normal but we are all very happy Mark survived [the] horrific helicopter crash near Wanaka," Sedon's friend Mark Thomas posted on Facebook.  ''Before I visited him in hospital today he warned me he was looking kind of ugly.

''Thankfully all his injuries are considered stable and he should make a full recovery after 2-4 weeks rest."

''He will live to fight another day - well not so much fight as ski, paraglide, kite surf and mountain bike. An incredibly lucky, and grateful, man. An incredibly relieved community of family and friends,'' Thomas said.

It was believed the helicopter barrel-rolled 1km down the side of the mountain before ending up in a ravine after pilot Dave Matthews attempted to land.

Matthews and the four other heli-skiers had been treated for their injuries and discharged from the Wanaka Medical Centre or Dunedin Hospital.

Today three Transport Accident Investigation Commission investigators, supported by helicopter pilots, alpine guides and Wanaka search and rescue personnel, completed inspecting the wreckage.

TAIC said the wreckage was taken from the mountain by helicopter before dark to a drop point on the shores of Lake Wanaka.  

From there it would be moved to secure storage in Wanaka and would eventually be taken to the TAIC’s Wellington technical facility for further examination, investigator-in-charge Ian McClelland said.

The investigation team was also retrieving maintenance records and preparing to interview the pilot and other company personnel tomorrow, he said.


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