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Farm owners responsible for pilot death

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 4/04/2016

<span style="font-size:13px;">Pilot Peter Robb died after his helicopter hit a wire&nbsp;</span> © Getty Images Pilot Peter Robb died after his helicopter hit a wire  Owners of a North Island farm have accepted a helicopter pilot died because they failed to take down a wire that struck his chopper mid-flight.

The Civil Aviation Authority has dropped charges against the Takiri Trust, which owns a farm in Brunswick, north of Whanganui, where pilot Peter Robb died in October 2014.

The 56-year-old had been doing a routine spray of farm land when his helicopter struck an overhead electric fence feeder wire and crashed.

The trust has released a statement accepting responsibility for the accident and saying if the wire had been brought down or rerouted, Mr Robb's death would have been avoided.

They admitted they had failed to take all possible steps to avoid the tragedy and encouraged other farmers to learn from it, and bring down unsafe wires.

"The Trustees unequivocally lend their support to any campaigns to heighten farmer awareness," the statement read.

"They encourage farmers never to contemplate that such tragedies could not happen to them. "They can. These tragedies must be avoided."

CAA director Graeme Harris said the accident was a sad reminder safety was the responsibility of farmers as well as pilots.

"The CAA acknowledges the matter has been resolved due to the constructive approach by both the Trustees and the victims family," he said.

The authority was collaborating with the agricultural and aviation industries to raise awareness of risks associated with helicopter agricultural operations, he said.

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