31 Jan 2013

Fog may have been factor in microlight crash

7:51 pm on 31 January 2013

Police believe heavy fog may have been a factor in a fatal microlight crash near Westport.

The wreckage, along with the bodies of two local men aged 58 and 25, were found on Carters Beach near the West Coast town on Thursday morning.

The men took off from Westport Airport about 6pm on Wednesday and the alarm was raised after they failed to return as planned two hours later.

A search and rescue helicopter was sent up to look for the Bantam B22S on Thursday morning, but a member of the public found the crash site first.

Rescue Coordination Centre spokesperson Michael Flyger said the men were found dead alongside the wreckage.

Mr Flyger said the crash site is not far from Westport Airport, but it is not clear where the men had been intending to land.

Sergeant Sean Judd says a particularly heavy fog came in around the coast on Wednesday night and that will have to be considered as a major factor.

Mr Judd says the both men are well known in the town, and the pilot is understood to have been very experienced.

The wreckage was removed from the beach on Thursday.

The Civil Aviation Authority says two investigators will begin their inquiries in Westport on Friday.