Two dead after Robinson R44 helicopter crash

TWO people have died in a helicopter crash in the Glenbervie Forest in Northland.

Rescue crews found the wreckage of a crashed Robinson R44 chopper in the forest, near Hikurangi.

It is believed to be a commercial helicopter.

John Ashby, spokesman for Rescue Coordination Centre, said the investigation was now being headed by police.

Police said they were investigating what the chopper was doing before it crashed and were identifying the bodies of the people killed.

The crash comes after the Transport Accident Investigation Commission (TAIC) added Robinson Helicopters to its list of safety concerns last week.


Peter Northcote, spokesman for TAIC, said the organisation could not confirm whether it would conduct an inquiry into today's crash until it had more information about what had happened.

Louisa Patterson, who lost her 18-year-old son James Patterson-Gardner in a chopper crash last year, told the Herald last week the R44 model, which crashed today, claimed 44 lives globally in the past 21 months.

The Whangarei rescue helicopter touched down at the scene just after 2pm.

Emergency crews were en route to the crash site about 20km north east of Whangarei.

A Rescue Coordination Centre spokeswoman said a beacon at Lookout Rd had gone off just after 1pm deep in the forest.

Whangarei police confirmed they had staff, along with St John paramedics and firefighters, responding to the call.

More soon.

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