Helicopter down, pilot missing

OLIVIA WANNAN
Last updated 22:59 15/12/2013

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Authorities have confirmed a helicopter has crashed near Milford Track.

The aircraft, containing a single occupant, was located just before dusk, Rescue Coordination Centre spokeswoman Sarah Brazil said.

Searchers were forced to return to base as the crash site was on steep terrain 2750 feet (838m) above sea level. Crews were also restricted by fading light conditions at 9pm and low cloud in the area.

There was no word about the pilot, she said. Search crews would assess the conditions tomorrow to see if a landing at the site could be attempted.

The Hughes 500 helicopter was declared missing tonight after it failed to arrive at Dumpling Hut on the Milford Track at 5.30pm.

The crash site was found fifteen minutes before nightfall in the Glade Burn near the start of the Milford Track, near Lake Te Anau.

The pilot was on a cross-country flight from Greenstone Valley, Otago.

Shortly after he was reported missing, the helicopter company launched a search using another helicopter, which was joined by two other aircraft, Brazil said.

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- Fairfax Media

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