5 Sep 2010

Bodies of nine who died in Fox Glacier plane crash removed

9:55 pm on 5 September 2010

The bodies of the nine people killed when their plane crashed beside the runway at Fox Glacier have been removed from the scene.

Five New Zealanders and four tourists died when their fixed wing aircraft crashed and exploded in a paddock next to the runway on Saturday afternoon.

The bodies were removed from the site on Sunday afternoon and driven to Christchurch, before being flown to Auckland.

Police have released the names of the nine, which included tourists from Australia, England, Ireland and Germany.

The local victims were, pilot Chaminda Senadhira, 33, from Queenstown; Adam Bennett, 47, from Motueka; Michael Suter, 32, from New Plymouth; Christopher McDonald, 62, from Mapua and Rodney Miller, 55, from Greymouth.

The four tourists on board were Patrick Byrne, 26, from County Wexford, Ireland; Glenn Bourke, 18, from Coburg, Victoria, Australia; Annita Kirsten, 23, from Germany and Brad Coker, 24, from Farnborough, England.

They had been setting out on a skydiving trip and the plane is said to have crashed shortly after take-off at the end of the runway at Fox Glacier airport.

Transport Minister Steven Joyce says it is the first air crash of this magnitude since the Air Adventures disaster that claimed eight lives in Christchurch in 2003.

A six person team from the Transport Accident Investigation Commission has arrived in Fox Glacier and is expected to begin a detailed examination of the aircraft on Monday morning.