Three people have died after this morning’s Air Force Iroquois crash near Wellington.
Three crew members died instantly when the chopper ploughed into a steep hillside in mist, near Pukerua Bay around six o’clock.
Defence Minister Wayne Mapp is at the Anzac commemorations in Auckland and earlier confirmed the fourth crew member died in hospital. However the NZHerald is reporting that the fourth person is alive in hospital, but in a serious condition, saying that Dr Mapp had been given the wrong information.
Dr Mapp is describing the accident as a brutal blow.
Inspector John Spence says the Iroquois had flown from Ohakea. He says the recovery operation is proving difficult, as the chopper went down in a ravine on a very steep hillside.
An Air Force helicopter has crashed in farmland in Pukerua Bay, north of Wellington, killing three people.
The Iroquois was en route from Ohakea to Anzac Day commemorations in Wellington.
Local woman Pamela says she thought something was wrong when she heard the helicopter flying over. She says she hears helicopters overhead quite often, and was worried when she realised how low the blades of this one were. Pamela says rescue helicopters are circling the area, and as she was speaking, she was walking down her farm track to see if she could help in any way.
Another local woman can see the crash site, which is a few hundred metres from her home in Pukerua Bay.
She says it looks as if the aircraft went straight into a hill, and it is now hardly recognisable.
The crash happened in darkness and thick fog.
There is one survivor, who has been taken to hospital with injuries which are described as serious to critical.
Apparently there was no fire when the aircraft went down.
LISTEN LIVE TO NEWSTALK ZB ONLINE – at www.NewstalkZB.co.nz for the latest on this developing story.