19 Jan 2014

Two pilots killed in glider-related crashes

9:59 pm on 19 January 2014

Two pilots are dead after separate aircraft crashes in different parts of the country on Sunday afternoon.

Shortly after midday, a light plane that had been towing a glider crashed near Springfield in North Canterbury and, within hours, a second person was killed when a glider crashed in Drury near Auckland.

An initial scene examination has already been carried out at the Springfield crash site.

The accident claimed the life of Martin Lowen, 55, who was an experienced fixed wing and glider pilot at the Canterbury Gliding Club.

The Transport Accident Investigation Commission has begun gathering information on behalf of the Civil Aviation Authority whose investigators will arrive on Monday.

Just two hours later, the pilot of a glider died in a crash in the rural suburb of Drury, south of Auckland.

Police say the single-crewed glider was launched from the Auckland Gliding Club's private airfield on Appleby Road in Drury about 2pm.

Emergency services were called about 4pm when witnesses saw the glider crash into a farm near Waihoehoe and Drury Hills Roads.

The Civil Aviation Authority is investigating.