Dead helicopter pilot named

Police have identified the pilot killed when his helicopter crashed in the Kaimanawa ranges.

He was Wairarapa man Mark Duncan Didsbury, 39. 

His body was found by a search and rescue party today about 50 metres from the wreckage of his Robinson helicopter which failed to return after flying hunters into Oamaru Valley yesterday afternoon.

The wreckage was spotted from the air at 7pm last night but no signs of life were found before rescuers had to leave the area because their own helicopter was running low on fuel.

This morning a fixed-wing aircraft and the Taupo Rescue Helicopter flew police search and rescue personnel back to the scene.

Six officers and a police dog were winched down into the bush and at around  11.30am they found the body about 50 metres from the wreckage.

Police staff were at the scene throughout the afternoon, as were inspectors from the Transport Accident Investigation Commission who will lead the investigation into the cause of the crash.