No crash investigation planned

The Civil Aviation Authority did not open a formal accident investigation following the disappearance of a Hughes 500 helicopter carrying two passengers in Fiordland almost nine years ago - and has no plans to investigate now.

CAA spokesman Mike Richards said yesterday the authority had reviewed its records following the discovery of a helicopter wreckage near Humboldt Creek, thought to be that flown by Waikato farmer Campbell Montgomerie (27) and English tourist Hannah Timmings (28), which went missing in January 2004.

The couple were declared dead at an inquest in Te Anau in August 2004, but remains found at the crash site last week needed to be formally identified through a forensic process which could take several weeks.

Mr Richards said the CAA did not investigate originally because "the helicopter departed into poor weather in mountainous terrain" and because it could not be found.

"If new evidence does come to light that would give us a key safety learning for the aviation sector, then we would reconsider," Mr Richards said.