Wedding chopper crash: Pilot moved to Burwood Spinal Unit

Four people, including the newlywed couple, were badly injured when the Robinson R44 II crashed...
Four people, including the newlywed couple, were badly injured when the Robinson R44 II crashed suddenly. Photo: George Heard
The pilot of a helicopter that crashed on a mid-Canterbury golf course earlier this month has been moved to the Burwood Spinal Unit for further treatment.

A spokesperson for the helicopter owners, Wyndon Aviation, said the pilot suffered injuries to her spine, among other injuries, and rehabilitation is expected to take many weeks.

On Saturday, June 12, Mahdi Zougub and Fay El Hanafy were married at Terrace Downs resort, about 80km from Christchurch.

They then went up in a Robinson R44 helicopter to have photos taken.

Shortly after takeoff the engine lost power and the helicopter plunged to the ground.

Zougub and El Hanafy were both badly injured, along with the pilot and wedding photographer Rachel Jordan.

The spokesperson said the investigation into the crash is continuing.

Initial investigations concluded that the helicopter suffered a total power loss shortly after take-off.

"Investigations as to the cause of that power loss continue and these lines of investigation have yet to realise the reason for the engine to have failed."

The engine will be run on a test bed later this week and the results of that will be analysed by independent engineer investigators, the spokesperson said.

"There are certain lines of investigation being pursued, however, it would be premature to reveal these lines at the moment, but we have an obligation to the victims of the accident, the wider aviation community and the public to find the cause."

The spokesperson said the pilot has been "quite overwhelmed" by the messages of support she has received from friends, fellow pilots and aviation industry colleagues.






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