Transport Accident Investigation Commission investigation and field staff examine the main fuselage of the crashed helicopter on Mt Alta yesterday. The tail section (visible in the background) is about 300m away. The intended drop-off point is out of picture. Photo by Transport Accident Investigation Commission.
Three Transport Accident Investigation Commission
investigators spent five hours yesterday on the side of Mt
Alta, near Wanaka, inspecting the Helicopter Line helicopter
that crashed on Saturday.
Late yesterday afternoon, investigator-in-charge Ian
McClelland said in a press release the team had
''successfully completed surveying, inspecting and
cataloguing the wreckage ... in what were ideal conditions.''
About 12 personnel were involved at the scene, where debris
was strewn across about a kilometre of steep snow and ice.
The wreckage was due to be flown off the mountain before dark
last night and would ultimately be transported to the
commission's technical facility in Wellington for further
Saturday's crash resulted in the death of Aucklander Jerome
Box (52) and injuries to six other men on board.
The last to leave Dunedin Hospital, Mark Sedon, of Wanaka,
returned home yesterday.
A friend on Facebook said Mr Sedon had two broken lumbar
vertebrae, four broken ribs and a lot of bruising and
Neither he nor pilot Dave Matthews, of Queenstown, were
available to speak to the media yesterday.
Mr McClelland said the investigation team was retrieving
maintenance records and preparing to interview the pilot and
other company personnel today.
The Squirrel helicopter involved in the crash was taking five
Auckland skiers to a designated drop-off site on the mountain
as part of a Harris Mountains Heli-Ski operation.
Wanaka police Sergeant Derek Ealson told the Otago Daily
Times yesterday the area where the helicopter crashed was
a ''challenging'' place in which to work and each
investigator had a LandSar member assigned to them for safety
''There is the altitude, the snow and the weather conditions,
along with the site of the helicopter itself, with sharp
metal objects and the possibility of avalanche in that
area,'' Sergeant Ealson said.
While the commission investigated the cause of the crash,
police were carrying out the coronial inquiry and would be
speaking to all the survivors ''in due course''.
Once the scene examination had been completed and the
helicopter removed, local iwi would bless the area, Sergeant