Missing pilot lost brother in air crash

23:30, Jul 09 2012
MISSING: Deputy chief pilot Antony Annan.
MISSING: Deputy chief pilot Antony Annan.

A New Zealand pilot missing after a helicopter went down in Papua New Guinea last week is a former Alexandra man who lost a brother in a plane crash more than 11 years ago.

Captain Antony Annan, 49, who grew up in Alexandra, was employed by PNG charter company Hevilift and was on board a Bell 206 helicopter which went missing on Friday afternoon, near Mt Hagen in the southern highlands.

A mayday call was sent five minutes after the helicopter left an InterOil Drill Rig site at 3.25pm (local time) in low cloud with reduced visibility.

Australian Captain Russell Aitken, 42, and an Australian aircraft engineer were also on board the aircraft with Mr Annan when it went missing.

It was believed the trio was heading to Hou Creek to refuel and then return to their main base at Mt Hagen.

Ken Lloyd, Mr Annan's brother-in-law from Alexandra, said he was making several calls a day to PNG to keep updated in the search but had no further comment.

Central Otago Flying Club president Russell Anderson, of Alexandra, said Mr Annan had grown up in a flying family. His late father Bill was a flying instructor, former president of the club and a life member, Mr Anderson said.

Mr Annan's brother Matthew was killed in Australia on October 16, 1998 in a topdressing light plane accident.

He was 28 years old when he died.

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The Southland Times