17 Dec 2013

Helicopter pilot's body recovered

6:07 am on 17 December 2013

Te Anau police have recovered the body of a helicopter pilot whose machine crashed near the Milford Track in Fiordland National Park on Sunday night.

Te Anau man William Bruce Andrews, who was known as Bruce, was the sole occupant of the helicopter.

The Rescue Co-ordination Centre (RCCNZ) said his Hughes 500 helicopter had failed to arrive at Dumpling Hut at 5.30pm on Sunday.

It said Mr Andrews, 49, was experienced and familiar with the area, and when he did not arrive as planned, another helicopter from the same company began a search.

RCCNZ called in two more helicopters from another company to join the search.

The wreckage was spotted about 9.15pm on steep ground in the Glade Burn, near the start of the Milford Track. Searchers were unable to land due to the low cloud and failing light.

A search and rescue team landed at the crash scene this morning and recovered Mr Andrews' body.

The Civil Aviation Authority and the coroner will investigate the crash.