John Lambeth treats injured glider pilot Alex Marshall
after a "heavy landing" 35km west of Omarama. Photo by
Southern Lakes Rescue Helicopter.
American pilot Alex Marshall was airlifted to Queenstown
Lakes Hospital yesterday with a broken ankle after the glider
he was flying landed heavily, 35km west of Omarama.
Omarama glider pilot Hugh Turner said Mr Marshall was
competing in the South Island Gliding Championships in
Omarama and was forced to make a "controlled but heavy
landing" in a remote mountain river area.
The incident was witnessed by another gliding competitor and,
initially, there were concerns for Mr Marshall when he did
not exit his glider and attempts to contact him failed.
Rescue Co-ordination Centre New Zealand search and rescue
officer Chris Wilson said the centre was notified of the
incident about 4.30pm, when a beacon was activated.
A Southern Lakes Rescue Helicopter was sent from Te Anau to
retrieve the pilot.
The search was supported by local light aircraft.
Mr Marshall was located about 6.15pm and flown to Queenstown
Lakes Hospital with a broken ankle and other minor injuries.
Mr Wilson said the beacon had been "critical" in expediting
the search effort.
"Correctly registered 406MHz beacons speed up the search and
ultimately could save lives."
Mr Turner said the weather conditions at the time were
"flyable", and the cause of the crash was not yet known.
The incident had been reported to the Civil Aviation