A helicopter was on a training flight when it crashed near
the Waimakariri River in Canterbury this afternoon, injuring
two people, police have confirmed.
The two-seater Guimbal Cabri helicopter crashed at the south
end of Two Chain Rd just north of the Waimakariri River. The
incident was reported to emergency services about 4.20pm.
The pilot suffered moderate injuries, police said. He was
believed to be a qualified pilot who was undertaking
The helicopter was believed to have been flying at relatively
low level and hit the ground heavily, said Canterbury police
district communications manager Stephen Hill.
The injured man was transferred to hospital by helicopter
with what were believed to be moderate spinal injuries. The
second person aboard, an instructor, suffered only minor
injuries and remained at the scene.
A local helicopter pilot said the helicopter was owned by
Pacific Helicopter Training. A spokesman for the company said
he couldn't talk about the crash, citing Civil Aviation
A South Eyre Road resident near the crash said she had seen
three police cars and two fire appliances heading west.
The severity of the incident resulted in the Westpac Rescue
Helicopter being diverted to the scene while on route to a
less serious callout in the Kaikoura Huntleys Hills.
Police and ambulance services also attended.
Garden City Helicopters' general manager Simon Duncan said
the area in Swannanoa was a known approved low-flying area
and was a training area for helicopters and planes.
Weather conditions at the time of the crash were clear and
HeliContrax owner and chief pilot Ben Walker said the area
was popular with helicopter training companies and private
The Civil Aviation Authority was not available for comment.