24 Nov 2015

Four Fox Glacier post-mortems completed

5:54 pm on 24 November 2015

The bodies of the three women on board the helicopter flight that crashed on Fox Glacier are among those recovered, police say.

The wreckage of the helicopter on Fox Glacier.

Bad weather has been holding back efforts to reach the crash site on Fox Glacier. Photo: NZ Police

Seven people - including four British and two Australian tourists - were killed in the crash on Saturday.

Four bodies were recovered on Sunday and post-mortems have now been completed in Christchurch.

West Coast Area Commander Inspector John Canning said the bodies were of the three women on the flight: Katharine Walker, Cynthia Charlton and Josephine Gibson.

Mr Canning said the fourth body, of a man, was yet to be identified.

"We are still working on the identifications in a formal way," he said.

The recovery team had been optimistic it could get onto the glacier this afternoon to reach the wreckage and recover the three remaining bodies.

Senior Constable Brett Swanson said earlier today a team of 12 was on standby to get onto the glacier if the weather cleared.

The plan was to cut a track in the ice from the top of the glacier to the crash site with a safety line so the team could reach the wreckage, he said.

But Mr Canning said bad weather meant no progress had been made.

The Transport Accident Investigation Commission has also been waiting for better weather so a drone operator can do an aerial survey of the site.

The seven people on board the flight were: Andrew Virco, 50, and Ms Walker, 51, from Cambridge; Nigel Edwin Charlton, 66, and Mrs Charlton, 70, of Hampshire; Sovannmony Leang, 27, and Ms Gibson, 29 of New South Wales; and New Zealand pilot Mitch Gameren.

Rescue teams will use this equipment to recover the remaining three bodies at the crash site when the weather clears.

Rescue teams will use this equipment to recover the remaining three bodies at the crash site when the weather clears. Photo: RNZ / Sally Murphy

A recovery team prepares to leave for the crash site.

A rescue team earlier in the week at the operations centre at Fox Photo: RNZ / Peter Newport

Inspector John Canning briefs media on the helicopter crash at Fox Glacier.

Mr Canning briefs media earlier in the week. Photo: RNZ / Peter Newport

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