Helicopter crashes, killing pilot
David Stanley Jones, a 48-year-old man from Woodend, has died after crashing a helicopter in North Canterbury this morning.
Police said Jones was the pilot and sole occupant of a Robinson R22 helicopter operated by HeliMax, the Woodend-based company he owned.
Senior Sergeant Malcolm Johnston says the crash occurred near the base of Mt Percy, inland from Domett south of Cheviot, shortly before 9.30 this morning.
The helicopter had been spraying matagouri at low altitude in a valley on the western side of Mt Percy.
"It was a high impact crash and the helicopter burst into flames on impact. It is likely the pilot would have been killed instantly," Johnston said.
The helicopter was "totally destroyed".
A loader driver phoned emergency services, police said.
Jones was pronounced dead at the scende by ambulance staff. His body is expected to be removed from the scene later today.
Jones was married and had teenage children. He used to be a sheep and beef farmer in Southland.
His family has been notified.
A Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) spokesman said it could take many months to determine the cause of the crash as parts may need to be sent to overseas manufacturers for testing.
"At this stage there is no indication of the cause of the accident. Our safety investigators will review all flight and maintenance records leading up to the flight, closely examine the wreckage, conduct interviews with witnesses and emergency support service personnel and look for any obvious immediate cause,'' a CAA spokesman said.
''If any issues are identified that may prevent an accident of this type occurring again, the CAA will take immediate measures."
* In May 2012, helicopter pilot Michael Mehrtens died the Hughes 500 helicopter he was flying crashed into deep water near Breaksea Bay on Lake Sumner. The Rangiora man had been spraying gorse when he crashed.
* In April 2011, pilot Adrian James Mayberry, 59, died from injuries sustained after his Robinson R22 helicopter, ZK-IXR, crashed in the Mathias River Valley, near Lake Coleridge.
The Christchurch businessman had his son-in-law was on board and he had been attempting to reposition the helicopter for landing.