27 Jun 2015

Three survive Westland helicopter crash

6:44 pm on 27 June 2015

A pilot badly injured in a helicopter crash on the West Coast this morning has been transported to Christchurch Hospital.

The helicopter crashed after picking up two hunters from the Poerua Glacier in Westland National Park this morning.

The pilot suffered serious injuries, but the two hunters are reported to have escaped with minor injuries, and have been taken by road to Grey Hospital.

The 24-year-old pilot was initially trapped in the cockpit.

A spokesperson from the Rescue Coordination Centre said two emergency rescue beacons were activated at about 10am today, one from the helicopter and one personal beacon.

She said the helicopter had already made one trip to the Poerua Glacier to pick up two hunters, and on the second trip, to pick up the second pair of hunters, something went wrong during the take-off.

The helicopter was a Hughes 369, operated by a heli-hunting company.