The two passengers seriously injured in a light plane crash
near Alexandra last week have spoken to investigators from
their Dunedin hospital beds.
The focus of the investigation has now shifted to the
aircraft's engine and fuselage, which arrived at a Transport
Accident Investigation Commission (TAIC) facility in
Wellington on Tuesday.
Glenorchy Air pilot Ray Crow died and two passengers survived
when the Piper Cherokee 6 aircraft crashed near Poolburn Dam,
about 20km east of Alexandra, during a scenic flight on
The passengers, Sarah and Erik Hoffmann, of the United
States, were taken to the hospital in a serious condition.
TAIC chief investigator Tim Burfoot said investigators
interviewed the pair on Saturday.
The information they had provided would be ''crucial'' to the
investigation, as they described ''what they heard and saw
and how the pilot was performing''.
At a funeral service for Mr Crow at Lake Hayes Pavilion on
Tuesday, Glenorchy Air co-owner Robert Rutherford told
mourners his senior pilot ''never cut corners and he never
let us down''.
''I'm sure that in the last few moments before he died, he
would have done everything he could, and that's why his
Mr Burfoot said investigators began examining the wreckage
yesterday with a ''fine-tooth comb''.
Tomorrow the engine would be removed and sent to independent
assessors, who would put it on a test bed to see if it ran.
They would then ''tear it down'' so that each component could
be checked and tested.
The initial information gathering phase in Otago was now
complete, with investigators having interviewed Glenorchy Air
staff and gathered company documents, including the
aircraft's maintenance history.
As the investigation proceeded, investigators could return to
the region to speak to those involved, he said.
Glenorchy Air said yesterday it would resume commercial
flight operations on Saturday.