13 Mar 2010

Pilot killed in light plane crash named

10:57 am on 13 March 2010

The man who died in a light plane crash in Northland on Friday has been named as Stacy Jarrod Hopper.

Mr Hopper was heir to the firm Hopper Developments, which specialises in luxury coastal developments like the canal project in Pauanui.

The crash happened at Marsden Cove Marina at Ruakaka, south of Whangarei, shortly after the plane took off from a paddock just before 4pm.

The police say it travelled about 200 metres before it appeared to hit a wind gust and one of its wings dipped. It burst into flames as it crashed back into the paddock.

One wing clipped a parked car as the plane came down, and two people inside the car suffered minor cuts from flying glass from the windscreen.

The crash is being investigated.

An eyewitness, Annette Wright, who knew Mr Hopper, says he was flying home to Auckland when the crash happened. He was an experienced pilot, she says, who had made the trip to Auckland many times.

A worker at the marina says the plane was taking off in strong winds.