Crash inquest hears of wreckage discovery

The site of the crash in the Lochy River basin in the Eyre Mountains, southwest of Queenstown....
The site of the crash in the Lochy River basin in the Eyre Mountains, southwest of Queenstown. Photo: NZ Police
A coronial inquest into a fatal helicopter crash near Queenstown in 2015 continued into its fourth day in the resort yesterday.

The Robinson R44 broke up in midair during a training flight over the Lochy River valley on February 19, 2015, causing the deaths of 18-year-old student James Patterson Gardner, of Queenstown, and pilot Stephen Combe (42), of Wanaka.

Yesterday’s proceedings began with the presentation of written evidence by a shepherd, Jules Webley, who discovered the wreckage of the aircraft.

MetService meteorologist Neal Osborne then gave evidence on the weather conditions in the area on the day of the accident.

He was followed by independent accident investigator Andrew McGregor, who presented technical evidence about helicopter design and flight dynamics.

The inquest continues today, and then a recess will be taken before it resumes next Wednesday.

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