17 Mar 2015

Plane crash family on flight to see friends

8:34 am on 17 March 2015

The four members of a family killed when their light plane crashed in mountainous terrain in Central Otago had been on their way to visit friends, Radio New Zealand reports.

Paul and Kate Macdonald, well-known Christchurch flying instructors, and two of their children, Georgie, 7 and Ben, 5, died when the plane came down near Wanaka's Motatapu River.

A helicopter pilot yesterday spotted the wreckage of the Cessna 185 was on a rock bluff near river.

Friends of the family said they were working at the Wanaka A&P Show at the weekend and were on their way to visit friends on a high country farm when the crash happened.

Police say there were no reports of a missing aircraft and they are still trying to work out where the plane was headed.

An emergency locator beacon was not activated and police do not know how long the wreckage had been at the site.

Otago Lakes-Central Area Commander, Olaf Jensen said rough terrain had made it difficult for the police to access the site. “It's obviously in remote mountainous terrain that's in a bluff area where the crash has occurred,” he said.

Two safety investigators from the Civil Aviation Authority will be at the scene today.