6 Dec 2020

Thousands sign petition to stop prosecution of helicopter pilots over Whakaari eruption

5:15 pm on 6 December 2020

More than 89,000 people have signed a petition to stop the prosecution of the helicopter pilots who saved lives on Whakaari as it erupted last year.

A view of Whakaari/White Island from the air as a helicopter approaches.

A helicopter view of last year's eruption on Whakaari / White Island. Photo: Supplied/Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust

Worksafe has laid criminal charges against 13 parties in relation to the Whakaari / White Island eruption in December last year.

Three helicopter companies are among the 10 organisations charged by WorkSafe with health and safety breaches in the lead-up to the eruption in the Bay of Plenty.

Kahu Helicopters, Volcanic Air and Aerius are all helicopter companies which operated tours to the island and are facing legal action.

The petition was started by Ned Dawson three days ago.

He is critical of WorkSafe for the legal action directed at pilots Mark Law and Tim Barrow, who rescued survivors from the volcano.

A separate Givealittle page has been set up to raise funds for Law's legal defence.

In the first 24 hours, it has raised more than $3000.

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