Pilot and celebrated sailor Murray John Philpott killed in Central Otago glider crash

Murray John Philpott, 55, who is a celebrated Kiwi sailor, died in a glider crash near Twizel on Sunday.
SUPPLIED

Murray John Philpott, 55, who is a celebrated Kiwi sailor, died in a glider crash near Twizel on Sunday.

The son of a pilot killed in a gliding crash was hoping his father landed in a remote area with no phone coverage when he was reported missing.

Hope turned to despair for Daniel Philpott and his family hours after they arrived in Omarama, Central Otago, on Sunday afternoon.

Murray John Philpott, 55 – a celebrated Kiwi sailor and Olympian – took off from Omarama on Saturday. Airfield officials reported him missing at 8.20pm after he failed to return.

Murray Philpott won multiple A division catamaran championships and represented New Zealand on the world stage.
SUPPLIED

Murray Philpott won multiple A division catamaran championships and represented New Zealand on the world stage.

An aerial search found his glider crashed in mountainous terrain in the Ben Ohau Range, northwest of Twizel, about 7pm on Sunday. It was about 50km from the airfield. He did not survive the crash.

READ MORE: 'Reasonably experienced' pilot killed in glider crash near Twizel

Philpott had won multiple national A division catamaran titles and represented New Zealand on the world stage, including the 1992 Barcelona Olympics where he was a travelling reserve. 

The Christchurch man had two daughters, Georgia, 18, and Gabrielle, 20, and a son, Daniel, 22. He had been married to his wife Christine for at least 25 years and was the owner of Christchurch business Argus Heating, specialising in electrical heating elements.

Daniel Philpott said he initially thought his father, a member of the Canterbury Gliding Club, may have landed in an area with no cell phone coverage and would be found on Sunday.

"We were thinking about how silly he would be feeling at the time, all the beers he would have to buy everyone for going and picking him up."

The family travelled to Omarama about noon Sunday. When they arrived, they were told searchers found something. More than three hours later the family received the worst possible news.

Ad Feedback

"I was expecting good news right up until they told us otherwise. Dad's very resilient."

He was carrying a personal locator beacon, which was manually operated but not activated.

"All we have been told is that he crashed on a slope and that CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) will do a report and it'll be thorough. We will just have to be patient."

Daniel Philpott said his father started gliding as a youth in the Air Training Corps, but only got back into the sport a few years ago.

He had purchased his own glider that took 18 months to arrive from Germany last year.

In recent times, he had obtained a qualification allowing him to fly alone and was honing his skills to one day compete in gliding competitions.

"We haven't been able to hold him back, he's pretty much spent every weekend, or all the time he can, getting certified and getting his licence sorted," Daniel Philpott said.

The family are planning a funeral where up to 400 people are expected.

"He was best to go to for advice, you always trusted him and he was the smartest man I knew. Quite often we would get phone calls from people asking how to get into sailing and how dad could help. He was always happy to do that," Daniel Philpott said.

New Zealand A Division Catamaran Association (NZADCA) president Brent Harsant said Philpott was one of the organisation's longest serving members.

"He was an integral part of the New Zealand fleet, and his passion and enthusiasm for the class helped it get to where it is today.

"Whether it was on the water or land, Murray was a fun person to be around with and had the biggest smile. He was always the first person on the beach to assist others out of the water."

 - Stuff

Ad Feedback
special offers
Auckland

Disgraced lawyer to marry murderer

Former lawyer Davina Murray was struck off after smuggling contraband into prison.

A notorious murderer and rapist is reportedly set to marry his disgraced lawyer in prison tomorrow. 

New boss as Stride Property

Philip Littlewood has been appointed chief executive of Stride Property Group.

Listed property firm appoints Philip Littlewood as chief executive.

Govt skips sugar tax debate

Our politicians can't agree on whether to introduce a tax on sugary drinks.

There was a debate on whether we should tax sugar... and the Government was nowhere in sight.

Helping ex-prisoners break cycle

Giving prisoners a chance are Department of Corrections' community employment and education officer Stephen Hemara, ...

One company has hired seven ex-prisoners and says they are "just people" who deserve a chance.

Wellington

Ticket scalpers on notice

Westpac Stadium chief executive Shane Harmon says the pitch is in "perfect condition" ahead of Tuesday's Lions encounter ...

Wellington stadium boss talks tough on illegal ticket sales ahead of Lions' double-header.

Pilot loses licence video

Helicopter pilot Rick Lucas survived a chopper crash into water at Porirua

Rick Lucas grounded, and firm loses certification, after Porirua harbour plunge.

Welcome to NZ: Here's a $200 fine

Dave and Viv Perry were fined $200 for breaching Napier City Council's freedom camping bylaw, despite making "a real ...

Council official had a rude awakening for Lions fans who thought they'd obeyed rules.

Streetlight failures hit capital

Wellington City Council has been inundated with maintenance requests from residents concerned about faulty street lights ...

Tawa, Johnsonville and Brooklyn worst affected, with multiple recent outages.

Canterbury

Lecturer wins rare teaching medal

University of Canterbury Teaching Medal recipient associate professor Ekant Veer during a lecture in 2014.

Associate Professor Ekant Veer is only the 10th lecturer to receive rare accolade.

Bain camp to get rifle

Pathologist Alexander Dempster, at David Bain's trial in 2009, demonstrates a possible angle of the shot to Robin Bain's ...

The rifle used to kill the Bain family in Dunedin will be returned to David Bain.

Nine microlight deaths since 2012

Emergency services at the scene of a microlight crash that killed Thomas Evans and Jenna Craig in a farm paddock in Kaka ...

A man who died in an Otago crash is the fourth microlight fatality so far this year.

Machete-wielder threatens cyclist

Officers were called to an altercation between a group of men outside Bush Inn on Riccarton Rd, Christchurch. (File photo).

A man wielding a Game of Throne's style machete threatened a cyclist with a hammer in a mid-morning fight in Christchurch.

Waikato

Build cheaper, ditch the garage

Marshall Bryce is completing his MBA at Waikato University.

Hamilton builder has concrete plans to tackle housing affordability.

Tonic for small towns

Waikato University Professor of population health Ross Lawrenson.

Heath bosses are looking across the ditch to see how rural docs are helping revive small towns.

SFO swoops on river trust

Roger Pikia is under investigation by the Serious Fraud Office, but remains chair of the Te Arawa River Iwi Trust.

The SFO has swooped on the offices of a trust tasked with cleaning up the Waikato River.

Waikato to world stage

Diaz Grimm said America feels like home to him now.

Kiwi rapper mixing with man who helped superstars Eminem and 50 Cent.

Taranaki

'Smoked' by waves for the giggles video

Members of the public avoid the big waves caused by high tides along the Coastal Walkway.

Despite warnings, thrill-seekers clamber over barriers to wander through huge waves crashing over coastal walkway.

Parks not in the plan

Full carpark at North Taranaki Visitor Centre during Easter holiday weekend last year

Visitors to Mt Taranaki will have to keep fighting to find a carpark.

Skate park to be lit up

Vinny Horwell, 2, from Lepperton flies through a puddle on his bike at the East End Skate Park on Sunday.

A team of four are working towards getting lights for the East End Skate Park.

Stolen car 'well on fire'

A car reported stolen went up in flames.

Police are now looking for three teens seen leaving the scene.

Manawatu

Escape from blaze

A Palmerston North family home, on Featherston St, was destroyed when a fire tore through it on Monday morning.

A Palmerston North house was on fire, but its residents got out.

Elderly abuse concerns

Age Concern is calling for people needing help to pick up their phones.

Many victims are too ashamed to speak out, says Age Concern's chief executive.

World scrum record attempt

Black Ferns fullback Selica Winiata in action against Australia  in Christchurch during the International Women's Rugby ...

There's a three-day Winter Festival tapping into the Lions tour.

Brawl outside bank

Police are speaking to one man, they believe to be a victim of an attack that sparked a  four to five man brawl outside ...

Police were called after up to five men were seen fighting on Broadway Ave.

Nelson

School's out for Christine

Christine Harrison is saying goodbye to Nelson Central School after 40 years of teaching there.

After 40 years' service, Nelson Central School deputy principal Christine Harrison is calling it a day.

Queen St slowing down

Vehicles travelling along the commercial section of the main street in Richmond will have to keep to 30kmh from August.

The speed limit along a stretch of Richmond's main street will drop to 30kmh.

Sunny Marlborough a class act

A pruning session at the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology campus, in Blenheim, impresses visiting agents ...

Top of the south described as country's "best kept secret" for international students.

School fair's another quacker

Rohan Haskell, left, helps release the ducks into the water at the Riwaka School annual noon duck race, Kaiteriteri Beach.

Sun and support made Riwaka School's annual duck race fundraiser a huge success.

Marlborough

Tagging inspires theatre mural

Marlborough Civic Theatre Trust chairman Kevin Moseley wants the Marlborough community to have input into a mural design ...

A daring piece of graffiti on a Blenheim theatre has led the trust behind the building to consider their own artwork as a replacement.

Driver admits guilt

Lara Glover, 16, died in the car crash on February 19.

Teen admits dangerous driving causing death but challenges police version of events.

Two drivers hospitalised

Fire, ambulance and police attended the crash on New Renwick Rd.

Fire, ambulance and police respond to two-car crash.

Bail pending fraud sentencing

Coffey was accused of helping deceive his former employer, the Department of Internal Affairs.

Former gambling inspector Kevin Coffey gets bail until fraud sentencing.

South Canterbury

From Nicaragua to Geraldine

Survivor contestant Shannon Quinn said the first thing she did when she was voted off the reality television show was to ...

Former Survivor contestant sought solace at home in Geraldine after Nicaragua competition.

Timaru taggers caught

Community Patrol graffiti co-ordinator Trish Andrews cleaning a postbox on Guinness St.

Police catch up with Timaru taggers after community patrol records incidents

Mayors support anti-plastic stance

Timaru District mayor Damon Odey supports an anti-plastic waste stance.

South Canterbury's mayors say they are backing an anti-plastic waste push.

Black spot targeted

John and Linda Cant, grandparents of Ruby Marris, 5, who was killed in a head-on collision near Moeraki in February ...

New safety system installed on high-risk stretch of road near Moeraki.

Southland

Struggle to keep Maori language alive

Former Te Wharekura o Arowhenua school principal Arni Wainui.

''If we lose our language we lose a large part of who we are and who we identify ourselves as."

Search underway gallery video

A police vehicle in the Slope Point area on Monday.

Search and rescue operation underway in Southland after fisherman reported overdue.

Pet dog shot dead

Max's owner found his body on Friday evening near the front gate of their property.

"Playful, friendly" labrador found dead at home with a bullet in his chest.

Strip and dip at Winter Fest video

A bright orange birdman leaps from the wharf on Queenstown's lakefront.

Scene of unseasonal jollity unfolds on Queenstown's lakefront as near-nude men and women fall over one another and rafts lose crew.

Ad Feedback