15 Oct 2010

Police recover helicopter pilot's body

8:34 pm on 15 October 2010

Police in Invercargill have recovered the body of a pilot from a helicopter that crashed in Bluff Harbour.

The body of his passenger was recovered from a beach on an islet nearby.

The two men have been named as flight instructor Jason Wright and trainee pilot Allan Munro.

Forty searchers spent 22 hours searching for the helicopter, which went missing on Thursday afternoon.

Ross Henderson of the Rescue Co-ordination Centre says the Robinson R22 was largely intact.

Mr Henderson says a person in a dinghy spotted the passenger's body on a beach about a kilometre away.

The helicopter was found partially submerged just after midday on Friday about two kilometres southeast of Colyers Island.

The Civil Aviation Authority will investigate the crash.

The authority says investigators will decide on Saturday morning whether the wreckage should be recovered from the harbour.

Authority spokesperson Bill Sommer says it is unclear how difficult a recovery operation would be.