26 Apr 2010

Anzac Day air tragedy dominates newspapers

9:08 am on 26 April 2010

The Anzac Day helicopter tragedy dominates the front pages on Monday morning with stark images of the debris caused by an Air Force Iroquois which crashed at 6am in mist-shrouded hills north of Wellington, killing three of its four crew.

The New Zealand Herald calls the crash, "A tragedy in the fog" and shows the surviving crew member being rushed from the crash scene by paramedics. There is also a picture of a member of the New Zealand Air Force with his head lowered in tribute to his fallen colleagues.

The Dominion Post reports the incident has mystified experienced pilots and led Prime Minister John Key to cut short his trip to Turkey where he was attending Anzac Day services. It says the Air Force has not dealt with three fatalities in one incident since 1972 when an Iroquois crashed into Kaipara Harbour in Northland. An court of inquiry will be launched to find out what happened.

The Press reports the deaths were one of the country's worst peacetime crashes and have cast a dark shadow over New Zealand's memorial services

The Otago Daily Times calls the deaths a stark reminder of the Gallipoli sacrifices and quotes Air Vice-Marshall Graham Lintott, head of the Air Force, who said we must now add the names of three more who have lost their lives in the service of their country.

The men who perished were Flight Lieutenant Hayden Madsen, 33, Flying Officer Dan Gregory, 28 and Corporal Ben Carson, 25. The fourth crewman, whose name has not been released, has undergone surgery in Wellington Hospital.