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Wednesday 8 February 2023 Dublin: 5°C
# no survivors
Four British tourists and two Australians among seven killed in New Zealand helicopter crash
Debris was spread over several hundred metres with the main part of the craft lodged in ice.

Updated at 7.53pm

SIX TOURISTS AND their pilot were killed when their helicopter crashed into a glacier in New Zealand.

New Zealand police say that four of the passengers were British tourists and two were from Australia. The pilot was a local man.

The sightseeing helicopter plunged into the Fox Glacier, a popular tourist site on the west coast of the South Island, with weather conditions reported to be heavily overcast and raining at the time.

A paramedic and alpine rescue team who looked over the crash site confirmed there were no survivors.

Inspector John Canning said, ”A helicopter carrying seven people including the pilot has crashed at the top of the Fox Glacier.

We have been to the site and there is no sign of life and tomorrow we hope to recover the bodies of those involved.

Canning said the recovery effort could take time because of the atrocious weather.

“I’m not going to risk any more lives, we’ve lost seven,” he said.

The terrain at the top of the glacier is very rough, as you can imagine it’s icy and there are crevasses — it’s quite dangerous.

Grey District Mayor Tony Kokshoorn described weather conditions around the glacier at the time of the accident as “terrible” with heavy rain and poor visibility.

“It wouldn’t be a good day to be flying helicopters,” he said.

Debris

Debris from the wrecked helicopter was spread over several hundred metres with the main part of the aircraft wedged between house-sized blocks of ice.

The alarm was raised late this morning when an emergency locator beacon was activated.

The New Zealand Rescue Co-Ordination Centre sent four helicopters to the glacier where they found a deep scorch mark leading to the helicopter about 2,500 feet (762-metres) up the glacier.

A spokesman for Alpine Adventures, which operated the single-engine Squirrel helicopter, confirmed it was on a scenic flight with six passengers.

© AFP 2015

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