16 Jun 2009

Pilot blamed for fatal crash in Canterbury

6:12 pm on 16 June 2009

A pilot has been blamed for a fatal plane crash that killed him and a passenger in Canterbury.

The two Mexican pilots were killed when their Piper Cherokee hit the ground and caught fire near Lake Coleridge in January 2008.

A Civil Aviation Authority accident report says the aircraft was flying at a low level in a mountainous area, something its pilot was not experienced in doing.

The report says Juan Carlos Cruz Felix, 21, did not stick to the flight plan on the journey from Hokitika to Christchurch.

Passenger Erick Garcia Marques, 18, managed to crawl 25 metres from the burning wreckage, before dying from his injuries.

The training company that operated the aircraft has since installed GPS tracking equipment to monitor flights.