No investigation into crash

The Civil Aviation Authority has confirmed it did not open a formal investigation into the disappearance of a Hughes 500 helicopter carrying two passengers in January 2004.

Authority spokesman Mike Richards, in a release today, said  the decision was made not to investigate at the time the aircraft was originally reported missing because of the known circumstances about the event at the time.

The helicopter departed into poor weather in mountainous terrain, Mr Richards says.

Data was recorded in their system as an aircraft occurrence regarding the aircraft type, the general location and meteorological forecasts at the time. This was not progressed further as an investigation.

''Essentially, nothing new has so far come to light,'' Mr Richards says.

''Therefore, the CAA does not consider that it can learn anything new, in the context of aviation safety, from an investigation of wreckage that is almost nine years old.

''Obviously, if new evidence does come to light that would give us a key safety learning for the aviation sector, then we would reconsider.''

The wreckage of the missing helicopter was found last week near the head of Humboldt Creek in Fiordland.

The two occupants - pilot Campbell Montgomerie, 27, and his passenger Hannah Rose Timings, 28, of England - were declared dead at a coronial inquest in Te Anau in August 2004.

Mr Richards says the CAA has requested photographs taken at the scene by the police and the potential recovery of the emergency locator transmitter.

This is intended for use to confirm the identity of the wreckage and compile a synopsis of events for recording in the internal data base.

The Southland Times