20 Oct 2018

Helicopter removed from site of fatal crash

3:56 pm on 20 October 2018

The helicopter that crashed in Wanaka, killing three men, has been removed from the scene of the incident.

The scene of the fatal helicopter crash near Wanaka airport.

The scene of the fatal helicopter crash near Wanaka airport. Photo: ODT / Mark Price

Scott Theobold, 59, of Twizel, Department of Conservation ranger Paul 'Hondy' Hondelink, 63, and pilot Nick Wallis, 38, died when the Hughes 500 aircraft crashed shortly after takeoff.

The trio were taking part in an operation to reduce tahr numbers.

Investigators from the Transport Accident Investigation Commission have moved the aircraft and are now interviewing witnesses as well as collecting records from the helicopter operator.

Speaking to media yesterday, head investigator Barry Stephenson said the initial focus had been on protecting and gathering evidence that could disappear or change.

He said the crash site is large and there was a significant amount of debris.

TAIC investigators expected to be in Wanaka until early next week.