A pilot has died after being struck by a helicopter.
Key points:The pilot, who was not identified, was a former Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) pilot, and was on a flight to Auckland on WednesdayThe pilot was the first to land at Auckland Airport and was the pilot who was on the ground when the helicopter crashed into his aircraft.
The pilot is a former RNZAF pilot and a former helicopter operator, and had been flying in the city for the past six years, the RNZaf said.
“We have lost a pilot in the line of duty, and we are deeply saddened by this tragic accident,” the RNAA said in a statement.
“Our thoughts are with his family, friends and colleagues during this difficult time.
The incident happened at around 4:30pm at the Wellington Airport, and there were several witnesses on the scene.”
The pilot’s helicopter was travelling about 70km/h and the incident occurred on a busy runway at the Auckland Airport.
“The pilot from the Auckland airport was an experienced pilot who had flown many times before and was now returning to the city to complete a tour of the city, the statement said.
The NZDF confirmed the pilot had been a former member of the Royal New Zealands Air Force and had a pilot’s licence.”
He was an accomplished pilot who served in the Royal NZAF, New Zealand Army, NZDF and the Ministry of Defence,” the statement read.”
In addition, he had been piloting a helicopter for many years.
“This is an extremely sad day for us all at RNZAA.”
Inspector-General of Police Grant MacLeod said a full investigation was under way and the investigation into the crash was ongoing.
“At this stage, it is too early to speculate as to what led to the crash,” he said.
Auckland Airport said the pilot was returning from a tour and was scheduled to return to the airport this afternoon.
A number of other aircraft were on the airport’s runway at time of the incident.
“A number were flying between the airport and Wellington when the incident took place, and a number of them were on a runway at that time,” the airport said in its statement.
“The NZFAA is currently investigating the incident.”
Auckland Mayor Lianne Dalziel said the airport was “deeply saddened” by the loss.
“My thoughts are also with the family and friends of the pilot, his wife and their two children,” she said.
The NZAF had a statement on Facebook, saying the pilot’s name was Peter A.M.C. “The Royal New Zealand Air Force was the last aircraft of its kind to enter service in NZ.
The RNZF remains a very important and respected service in our country.
He will be remembered for his dedication to the flying profession and the people of New Zealand.”
RNZAA spokesman Paul Meehan said the incident was “a tragic loss”.
“The loss of a pilot is not only devastating to the family, but to the entire RNZA family,” he told the ABC.
RNAA chief executive officer Steve Rau said the RNSAA would continue to work with the Government, the police and the public to find a solution.
“It is too soon to speculate on what the cause of the crash might have been, but we will continue to provide assistance to our colleagues and the wider community as they investigate the crash and gather all the facts,” he added.
More to come.