The pilot of a glider was killed yesterday when his
aircraft crashed in rugged terrain near Omarama.
About 25 police, search and rescue and medical personnel were
called out along with a rescue helicopter from Wanaka when
another pilot in the area radioed in the crash about 6.30pm.
Omarama is staging the national club championships and
Omarama Cup this week, but the dead pilot, a man who was the
sole occupant of the glider, was not competing in the events,
Sergeant Tony Woodbridge, of Oamaru, said last night.
The pilot had taken off from Omarama, but details of where he
was from or the type of glider he was flying would not be
released until next of kin had been notified, Sgt Woodbridge
The crash occurred in the Snowy Tops area on Ribbonwood
Station, about 10.5km northwest of Omarama.
Police from Twizel, Kurow and Omarama and members of Omarama
search and rescue along with a cliff-face rescue team and
trauma doctor were called out to assist with the crash.
About six people, including the doctor, were flown in and
arrived at the crash site about 7.30pm, but found the pilot
His body was flown back to Omarama last night and taken to
The crash has been referred to the Civil Aviation Authority,
which will investigate today.
Gliding New Zealand president Nigel Davy confirmed the pilot
was not an Omarama resident, but did not say where he was
Conditions were good for gliding with light winds and clear
skies. There was only minor turbulence.
It was the first major accident for this gliding season in
Omarama is world-renowned as a premier gliding area.
Otago has been the location of several fatal gliding
accidents including that of Owen James Truelove (69), of
Cornwall, and his son James Christopher Scott Truelove (37),
of Queenstown, who crashed near Lake Hawea in 2006; Greg
Brosnan (44), of Wanaka, who died near Omarama in 2005; and
Norman Howard Gray (53), of Colorado, who died in the Ohau
range in 2002.
Police were still investigating the crash last night.