Two dead in gyrocopter crash

Two men are dead after a gyrocopter crashed in a south Taranaki paddock today.

The crash was off State Highway 3, at Normanby, near Hawera, about 1.40pm, police spokeswoman Kim Perks said.

No-one on the ground was hurt, she said.

It was believed the gyrocopter was flying out of a local aero club.

One of the men was believed to be in his 70s and from New Plymouth, the other in his 50s from the Hawera area.

Eyewitness Tanant Lester said he watched the gyrocopter crash after noticing it struggle to gain altitude.

"For about 40 minutes I heard it take off and land (at Hawera aerodrome) and thought nothing of it," he told the Taranaki Daily News website.

"Then it sounded quite low, so I quickly swung around to see what was going on."

Mr Lester said he heard the pilot "give it a lot of revs" and thought they were ok.

"He then banked to the left about 50 to 100 metres off the ground and nose dived into the field."

The Civil Aviation Authority has been notified and is sending a team of investigators to the scene to work alongside police to establish the cause of the crash.

The coroner had also been notified, Ms Perks said.


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