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Brother apologises at plane crash inquest

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 16/02/2017

Mr Hertz and wife Kathy died when the aircraft they were travelling in crashed into the sea off the Raglan coast in March 2013. © Getty Images Mr Hertz and wife Kathy died when the aircraft they were travelling in crashed into the sea off the Raglan coast in March 2013. The brother of Eric Hertz has apologised for the 2degrees chief executive's failure to disclose his mental illness, which should have prevented him from flying a plane.

Mr Hertz and wife Kathy died when the aircraft they were travelling in crashed into the sea off the Raglan coast in March 2013.

Mr Hertz did not tell approved doctors in New Zealand or the United States that he was taking medication for an anxiety disorder.

"What the pilot did was wrong in lying on his medical certificate," Eli Hertz told a coroner's inquest in Hamilton.

"There is no excuse for that and it was inappropriate and illegal."

Civil Aviation Authority principal medical officer Douglas Watson told the court: "Our system is not designed to catch out or identify applicants who provide incorrect information.

"From our understanding of the FAA certification, it's likely Mr Hertz would have also been declined any medical certificate had they know he was been treated with Duloxetine.

"My fundamental conclusion is that Mr Hertz was not fit to fly as his condition and the drugs used in its treatment couldn't be excluded as contributing factors to the crash."

However, Eli Hertz disagreed, citing another medical professional who stated that less than 20 per cent of patients were adversely effected by the drug.

"It's not conclusive whether the medication had an impact on the Eric's ability to respond to the mishap," Eli Hertz said.

He believed the aircraft itself was not fit to fly and that was the primary cause of the crash.

Coroner Gordon Matenga has reserved his findings.

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