Helicopter crash in Karamea: an investigation has been opened into the accident at a holiday resort on the west coast

Several helicopters were en route to the crash site.

An investigation has been opened into a helicopter crash in the town of Karamea, in the district of Buller, which seriously injured the pilot.

Police, firefighters and paramedics rushed to the Last Resort hotel and lodge after the crash at the resort’s helipad shortly before 4 p.m. on January 2.

The first indications are that the pilot was the only person on board the helicopter at the time of the crash, New Zealand police confirmed.

The pilot was conscious and breathing, but seriously injured.

The Transportation Accident Investigation Commission (TAIC) tonight opened an investigation into the crash and issued a protection order at the Lake Resort wreckage site, restricting access to protect the evidence.

A spokesperson for the St John ambulance confirmed that they dispatched a rescue helicopter and two ambulances to the scene.

The pilot was airlifted to Nelson Hospital in serious condition.

TAIC is looking for witnesses to the accident itself or simply to the helicopter in flight before the accident. Witnesses can give their testimony in an online form at www.taic.org.nz/contact-us

“We are interested in what locals and vacationers may have seen, heard or seen, and we are particularly keen to receive photographs or videos,” said Harald Hendel, chief investigator of TAIC.

“The circumstances reported to TAIC were that the Robinson R22 helicopter was approaching landing when it encountered difficulties, [tipped] down and hit the ground hard in an enclosure adjacent to the Arapito River. “

A two-person TAIC investigation team will visit Karamea on Monday.

“Over the next few days, TAIC investigators will gather evidence from the crash site, secure wreckage and electronic records such as photos, videos and location data,” Hendel said.

“Of course, we will look at the wreckage of the helicopter, as well as the data about it and the history, performance, maintenance, design of this type of aircraft. The operating environment is still d ‘interest, including physical, meteorological, business operating system safety, operator organizational culture and regulatory issues.

A fire and emergency spokesperson confirmed to the Herald that they responded to a helicopter crash at a helipad at the Last Resort hotel and lodge on Waverley St, Karamea.

The spokesperson said it was not yet clear how severe the crash was and that it may have been a hard landing at the helipad of last resort.

The town of Karamea has a population of around 300-400 people and owns the Karamea airfield which includes a helicopter charter company.

The accident will be reported to the Civil Aviation Authority.

More soon.

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