Four people injured after light plane crash near Kekerengu
Four people have been flown to hospital after the plane they were in crashed near Kekerengu, between Blenheim and Kaikoura on the east coast.
The light plane, a Cessna 185 F, crashed off the side of a remote air strip with four people on board around 11.30am on Friday while landing at a rural property.
A Nelson Marlborough Rescue Helicopter spokesperson said the responding helicopter crew found the plane around 40 metres down the hillside from the air strip.
Two passengers had been able to free themselves from the wreckage, but the pilot and another passenger were still inside the plane when first responders arrived, they said.
The Nelson Marlborough Rescue Helicopter crew, with support from police, fire crews and the Westpac Rescue Helicopter treated the patients at the scene.
All four people were airlifted to the emergency department at Christchurch Hospital with serious spinal and abdominal injuries, the spokesperson said.
St John South Island communications manager Ian Henderson said the plane was carrying two men, a woman and a teenage girl at the time of the crash.
A Canterbury District Health Board spokeswoman said on Saturday the four people were in a stable condition.
She said the two men were in their 50s and thought the girl was around 12-years-old, but did not know the age of the woman.
A Civil Aviation Authority spokesman said the pilot was undertaking a landing manoeuvre when the plane ran off the side of the air strip, hitting the ground hard enough to cause the undercarriage to collapse.
One of the passengers and the pilot were stretchered out while the other two passengers were able to walk, he said.
Police were taking photographs and measurements at the scene, which would be passed over to the Civil Aviation Authority, who would also be speaking to the pilot once he was released from hospital.
Emergency services were called to the scene around 11.30am, including two rescue helicopters, the Westpac Rescue Helicopter and Nelson Marlborough Rescue Helicopter.
A police spokesperson said because of the remote nature of the crash site, emergency services had to use quad bikes to reach the plane.
A woman who lived beside Matiawa farmstead, where the incident is understood to have happened, said she had seen a rescue helicopter over the farmstead.
She did not want to be named, but said her neighbour asked whether they could use the airstrip on her and her husband's farm to land on Friday.
"It's an agricultural air strip so it's not for beginners, so my husband said it was OK if you used it but we'd rather you didn't," she said.
Her husband recommended the Parikawa Air Strip instead, because it had a wind sock and there had been strong winds recently.
However, it is believed the plane, travelling from Canterbury, landed at an airstrip on the Matiawa farmstead, off Wiffens Rd.
"We heard it this morning and didn't think anymore about it," she said.
"So long as nobody's hurt, that's our big concern, that there's no fatalities."
Maritime New Zealand tweeted a beacon alert was received by the Rescue Co-ordination Centre at 11.33am, saying a light plane had crashed near Clarence.
Beacon alert received by RCCNZ at 11.33 am from light plane crashed near Clarence. Police leading response.— Maritime New Zealand (@MaritimeNZ) January 19, 2017
Seddon Volunteer Fire Brigade chief fire officer Keiron Hebberd said Seddon, Ward and Blenheim crews were each sending a fire truck to the scene.
Hebberd said until he heard back from his crew on the ground he could not provide many details, but said as far as he was aware there were no fatalities.
More to come.
- The Marlborough Express