The wreckage of a helicopter missing in Papua New Guinea was discovered yesterday with the three men on board, including former Alexandra man Antony Annan, found dead.
Mr Annan, 49, a Hevilift pilot, and two of his Australian colleagues, Russell Aitken, 42, and Emmett Fynn, 36, had been missing since July 6 after they made a mayday call from their helicopter after taking off from an InterOil Drill Rig site at 3.25pm (local time) in low cloud with reduced visibility.
Yesterday the helicopter's tailboom was sighted from the air about 7am (local time) and ground crew were sent to the location.
The three men were declared deceased at the scene.
It was believed the trio had been heading to Hou Creek to refuel before returning to their main base at Mt Hagen at the time of the crash.
Mr Annan was the deputy chief pilot at Hevilift and had worked at the company for more than 10 years.
It is the second air tragedy for the Annan family after Antony's brother Matthew was killed in a topdressing plane crash in Australia almost 12 years ago.
The brothers came from a well-known flying family in Alexandra and their late father Bill had been a president of the Central Otago Flying Club.
Hevilift group managing director Paul Booij said the search area was narrowed down significantly on Thursday after a villager found a piece of the aircraft in the river.
"We knew then that the area we had been searching was correct and we concentrated the ground search teams upstream of where the debris was found."
- © Fairfax NZ News
Your club information portal, post or view your sports fixtures, results and general information.
Check out what's on in your community or post an upcoming event.
Subscribe to a digital replica of The Southland Times.
Southland Times subscriber news and information.
Click here for information about advertising with The Southland Times.
Buy copies of photos featured in The Southland Times.