RCCNZ coordinates rescue after crash at take-off

A pilot and two hunters, injured during a helicopter crash at take-off near the Poerua Glacier, north of Franz Josef, were rescued around midday 27 June 2015.

One man was taken by air to Christchurch Hospital and two others by ambulance to Greymouth Hospital, a Rescue Coordination Centre of New Zealand spokesperson said.

The RCCNZ responded to two distress beacon activations, and notification from the commercial company that its Hughes 369 helicopter was overdue and should have returned at 9.30am.

As the RCCNZ was arranging for the Garden City Rescue helicopter from Greymouth to fly to the site – and liaising with Police to have a ground alpine cliff rescue team on stand-by – it received information from the company about the problem at take-off and that three men were injured. Another company helicopter had been flown to the glacier to check the situation and was able to pass on information about what had happened on the ground.

The RCCNZ notified the rescue helicopter crew of the injuries, while it was en-route to the glacier, east of Whataroa, on the Franz Josef Highway.