Dead pilot described as ‘gem’

Pilot Dan Harrison was killed in a helicopter crash near Lawrence on Thursday. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Pilot Dan Harrison was killed in a helicopter crash near Lawrence on Thursday. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
The world has ‘‘lost a gem’’ after an experienced helicopter pilot was killed in a crash near Lawrence.

He was Dan Harrison, of Lister Helicopters.

On Thursday, Lister Helicopters confirmed one of its machines, a Eurocopter Squirrel AS350, was involved in the crash at Deep Creek, west of Dunedin.

A police spokeswoman said they were alerted at 5.30am that a helicopter flying from Milton to Alexandra was overdue.

The aircraft is believed to have flown over State Highway 8, towards Lawrence, and over Glendhu Forest.

A Rescue Co-ordination Centre New Zealand spokeswoman said the crashed helicopter was located about 7.30am by a search helicopter sent from Dunedin.

The sole occupant had not survived, she said.

Mr Harrison had also been flying for Queenstown helicopter company Over The Top.

Chief executive Louisa Patterson said Mr Harrison was an integral part of the Over The Top team, well respected and loved by crew and clients.

‘‘Dan had a particular flair with our clients, entertaining them whilst exhibiting professional flying — a wonderful ambassador for New Zealand. A good, good person; you could not find a better man.

‘‘The world has lost a gem. Our hearts are broken; a very sad time for all. Our thoughts are with the family and his colleagues in the South.’’

A profile on Over The Top's website said he had been flying helicopters since 2006.

Since then he had worked in Canada and throughout the South Island.

‘‘Dan has been flying for Over The Top since 2012 and has over 3700 hours’ experience in helicopters. Dan is a B Category instructor, currently on sabbatical until our overseas tourists return. Dan is down south enjoying some agricultural aviation,’’ the profile said.

‘‘Dan enjoys the outdoors and as such will not only provide you with a safe and knowledgeable experience but will also have fun stories to tell of hunting and jet-boating.’’

He had been awarded a Silver Safety Award from the New Zealand Helicopter Association (NZHA) for more than 10 years continued safe flying.

Add a Comment


Our journalists are your neighbours

We are the South's eyes and ears in crucial council meetings, at court hearings, on the sidelines of sporting events and on the frontline of breaking news.

As our region faces uncharted waters in the wake of a global pandemic, Otago Daily Times continues to bring you local stories that matter.

We employ local journalists and photographers to tell your stories, as other outlets cut local coverage in favour of stories told out of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

You can help us continue to bring you local news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter