Fox Glacier drone survey completed
A drone has shot footage less than 10 metres above the crashed helicopter on the Fox Glacier, providing mapping vital for recovering the remaining bodies and the wreckage.
Seven people died when the helicopter crashed on the glacier on Saturday.
Four bodies were recovered the next day, but three remain at the crash site and bad weather is hampering their recovery.
Twelve people including an alpine cliff rescue team, a drone operator and a disaster victim identification team were dropped onto the glacier today about 10.30am.
The team aimed to recover the remaining three bodies from the wreck, but the break in the weather that allowed them to get onto the glacier only lasted about two hours.
Most of the team has come back down off the glacier but four others will stay overnight.
West Coast Area Commander Inspector John Canning said no bodies were recovered but the team was able to complete a drone survey of the crash site, and create a staging area.
"We do have a SAR [Search and Rescue] team up in the Chancellor Hut that'll spend the night up there," he said.
"That's not something they're unaccustomed to; they've got all the comforts of home there."
The drone survey is expected to help the Transport Accident Investigation Commission (TAIC) understand the crash site.
TAIC spokesperson Peter Northcote said the drone had provided about half an hour of useful footage.
"It's allowed our engineering experts to be working with the alpine cliff rescue teams and police on appropriate ways to access and secure the wreckage for the work that's ahead."
The seven people on board the flight were: Andrew Virco, 50, and Katharine Walker, 51, from Cambridge, England; Nigel Edwin Charlton, 66, and Cynthia Charlton, 70, of Hampshire, England; Sovannmony Leang, 27, and Josephine Gibson, 29, of New South Wales, Australia; and New Zealand pilot Mitch Gameren.
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