Helicopter company charged

Wanaka helicopter company The Alpine Group Ltd has been charged in relation to a crash on October...
Wanaka helicopter company The Alpine Group Ltd has been charged in relation to a crash on October 18, 2018, which killed pilot Nick Wallis and Department of Conservation employees Paul Hondelink and Scott Theobold, both of Twizel. Photo: ODT files.
A Wanaka helicopter company will have to wait until at least October to defend charges over a crash which killed three people in 2018.

The Alpine Group Ltd has been charged in relation to a crash on October 18, 2018, which killed pilot Nick Wallis (38) and Department of Conservation employees Paul Hondelink (63) and Scott Theobold (59), both of Twizel.

The charges of breaching the Health and Safety Act were bought by the Civil Aviation Authority.

That crash came just three months after Nick Wallis’ brother and fellow pilot, Matthew (39) died in another helicopter crash.

The brothers were the two youngest sons of Sir Tim Wallis, who is a majority shareholder of the company.

An interim report by the Transport Accident Investigation Commission (Taic) into the October crash, published in December, 2018, found a pair of over-trousers flew from the cabin of the Hughes 500 and became entangled in the tail rotor.

That caused the helicopter to crash shortly after taking off from Wanaka Airport.

Appearing by audiovisual link in the Queenstown District Court before Judge John Brandts-Giesen yesterday, the CAA wanted three weeks to be set aside for a judge-alone trial.

Judge John Brandts-Giesen, who recused himself from the case because of family associations, remanded the matter to a nominal date in September, advising the trial would not take place until after October and ‘‘closer to the end of the year’’.

Directors of The Alpine Group are Jonathan and Toby Wallis, along with Murray Valentine and Angus Wilson.

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