Order to protect evidence after fatal chopper crash

Investigators search the area around the wreckage, shortly after the Hughes 500 went down, near...
Investigators search the area around the wreckage, shortly after the Hughes 500 went down, near Wanaka Airport. Photo: Mark Price
The Transport Accident Investigation Commission (TAIC) has issued a formal order to protect evidence following a fatal helicopter crash in Wanaka last month.

Pilot Nick Wallis was killed along with Department of Conservation workers Paul Hondelink and Scott Theobold. The order relates to the Hughes 500 helicopter that crashed near the Clutha River on October 18.

Chief investigator of accidents Captain Tim Burfoot said his team had made a full search of the site, "working with police and local people, in the days following the accident".

"Although the commission has recovered what it believes to be anything of significance, it is possible that some evidence may remain at or around the accident site.

"The commission has issued a protection order to support the gathering of any evidence that may remain on the ground or in the trees and shrubs in a roughly 500m radius from the crash site."

Capt Burfoot said the order required anyone who found parts or components of the accident helicopter, or any other accident evidence, to take it to the Wanaka Police Station.

They could also contact the commission.

The protection order would remain in force until revoked, either in writing by the commission, or on publication of the final report, whichever was sooner.

 

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