Two pilots have died in separate glider-related crashes in
New Zealand today.
One pilot died in a fiery plane crash in North Canterbury
while towing a glider, while another glider pilot has been
killed after his aircraft reportedly hit trees in rural South
Emergency services were called to the scene of the second
crash in Drury about 4.30pm, northern ambulance
communications shift manager Patrece Gosney-Payne said.
It was not known if the person was a man or women or if they
were the sole occupant of the aircraft.
The glider was associated with Auckland Gliding Club.
Spokesman David Hirst said the crash happened "within sight''
of the club, on Appleby Rd, Drury.
Meanwhile, the pilot in the North Canterbury crash has been
named as Martin Lowen, a 55-year-old from Christchurch.
The glider involved in that incident had two occupants, but
was able to release itself from the plane and fly back to the
The pilot and sole occupant of the PA28236 Dakota aircraft
was described as "very experienced'' by the gliding club he
Civil Aviation Authority spokesman Mike Richards said they
had launched an inquiry into the incident, which happened
near Springfield in North Canterbury just after 12pm.
The plane was owned by Drake Aviation but had been leased to
the Canterbury Gliding Club.
Club instructor Warwick Bethwaite said Mr Lowen was married
"He was a good part of the club and had been for a number of
Everyone at the club knew each other and all the members were
shocked at the incident, he said.
"Tow pilots need glider pilots and glider pilots need tow
pilots and we all get on well together, we all share a
passion for the sport and for aviation - it's a big
close-knit family really.''
The crash happened about 2km from the airfield, he said.
"It was a normal operation, a normal club day, good weather
and great for gliding.''
It was too soon to know exactly what had happened to cause
the plane to crash, Mr Bethwaite said.
Witnesses told Mr Bethwaite the plane had burst into flames
The witnesses were feeling "bloody awful'' about seeing the
A Transport Accident Investigation Commission investigator
was at the site today taking photos of the wreckage.