Pilot killed in chopper crash named
Wakatipu Aero Club operations manager and chief flying instructor Julian Dean Kramer, also known as Julianne, has been named as the pilot who died when the helicopter he was piloting crashed in the Cardrona Valley last night.
Mr Kramer, 52, was the sole occupant of the Robinson R22 when it crashed on the Criffel Range, halfway between Wanaka and Queenstown, at about 8.40 last night.
It took police about 40 minutes to trek through bush and locate the wreckage, which was found in quite an inaccessible area, Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) spokesman Mike Richards said.
Two CAA safety investigation officers will visit the site today to inspect the wreckage and determine the cause of the crash.
Because of the location of the site it was possible the inspectors would be lowered into the site by helicopter, Mr Richards said.
Wanaka police Sergeant Aaron Nicholson co-ordinated the search and rescue operation, which involved police, fire St John and LandSAR and two helicopters one from Queenstown and the Otago rescue helicopter, to locate the wreckage.
The joint response ran very smoothly and emergency services and LandSAR teams got to the site to find significant wreckage and the sole occupant deceased near the wreckage, he said.
Fire crews on site contained any fire risk.
Further inquiries indicated Mr Kramer and a friend had earlier flown from Queenstown to Wanaka Airport to pick up another light aircraft and then both returned to Queenstown via the Cardrona Valley, one flying the aircraft the other flying the helicopter.
The other pilot arrived in Queenstown unaware of the incident.
The matter has been referred to the coroner and CAA for further investigation. Earlier, Mr Richards said the Transport Accident Investigation Commission would not be investigating.
The Southland Times