25 Jan 2015

CAA investigates fatal microlight crash

6:17 pm on 25 January 2015

Investigators from the Civil Aviation Authority are struggling to determine the cause of a fatal microlight crash in Timaru.

The wreckage of the microlight near Seadown, Timaru.

The wreckage of the microlight near Seadown, Timaru. Photo: Supplied

Instructor, Jack Mehlhopt, 86, and Randel Tikitiki, 51, who was a senior sergeant with the police in Timaru, died when their microlight crashed in a farm paddock shortly after taking off from Timaru airport on Friday.

CAA spokesperson Mike Richards said investigators would continue combing through the wreckage this afternoon and tomorrow, before taking it to Wellington for further examination.

He said they were having trouble finding an obvious cause of the crash.

"They are (the investigators) really combing through piece by piece, doing a process of elimination really, just looking at variables, ruling them out one by one."

Mr Richards said at this stage there was nothing obvious which indicated the cause of the crash.

There have been six microlight crashes in the past year, and the CAA said it was also looking at whether there was a common factor.

Microlight club helps with crash investigation

The South Canterbury Microlight Club says it will do all it can to assist the investigation into the crash that killed the two men who were club members.

Club president Tim McLeod said it was a difficult time for the club's members.

"It's not something we've had to deal with before it's an extraordinary situation at the moment, we're floundering a bit at the moment."

He said the club was under instruction from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

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