19 Jan 2009

Airbus bodies being returned to New Zealand

11:34 am on 19 January 2009

The bodies of four of the five New Zealanders who died in the Air New Zealand Airbus crash off the coast of France in November are being flown home.

The A320 aircraft crashed into the Mediterranean off the coast of Perpignan on 27 November, killing all seven on board, including two German pilots.

The bodies of Air New Zealand Captain Brian Horrell, engineers Michael Gyles and Noel Marsh, and Civil Aviation Authority airworthiness inspector Jeremy Cook are being returned to New Zealand on a commercial flight from London.

The body of Air New Zealand engineer Murray White has not yet been recovered.

Family members and Air New Zealand chief executive Rob Fyfe are also on the flight, which is expected to arrive at 11am on Tuesday.

In a statement, the airline said once all the other passengers have disembarked in Auckland, the aircraft with the families and the remains of the lost men will be towed to a hangar where a private ceremony will be held.