11 Jun 2012

Helicopter pilot's body recovered from lake

10:28 pm on 11 June 2012

Police searching for a missing helicopter pilot in a North Canterbury lake have recovered his body on Monday night.

Michael Mehrtens crashed into Lake Sumner while carrying out a weed spraying operation for the Department of Conservation on 21 May.

Inspector Craig McKay says the police national dive squad found an item of interest during an underwater sonar search on Sunday which has been confirmed as the body of the 35-year-old.

Mr McKay says the team returned to the lake about 6.30am on Monday and used a NIWA submersible remote-operated vehicle to locate the body at a depth of 127 metres.

It was then brought up to 30 metres where divers could retrieve it, about 5pm.

Inspector McKay says the body will be taken to Christchurch on Tuesday and released to the family once a post-mortem examination is completed.

He thanked the many people and organisations who had contributed to the search and recovery effort.