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Funeral for pilot killed fighting fire due

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 19/02/2017
Steve Askin © Steve Askin / Facebook Steve Askin

The funeral for Steve Askin, 38, the former SAS soldier who died in a helicopter crash while fighting the Port Hills fire is due to be held.

Mr Askin's SAS comrades will be pallbearers at the service at Christchurch's Wigram Airforce Base on Monday, according to a post on Givealittle page set up to raise money for his family.

The army will film the funeral and make sure identities remain confidential, the post says. The page had raised nearly $200,000 for his family by Sunday evening.

Mr Askin did not have life insurance and also had a hefty student loan from helicopter pilot training, according to the post on Givealittle.

The Squirrel helicopter Mr Askin was flying crashed near Sugar Loaf car park last Tuesday.

Mr Askin was a former SAS soldier cited multiple times for his exceptional bravery in Afghanistan, the Defence Force has said.

He received the New Zealand Gallantry Star, New Zealand's second-highest gallantry award, in 2014, his identity not being made public at the time.

The medal citation said that, during a Taliban attack on the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul in 2011, Mr Askin was wounded by grenade and rifle fire, but carried on rescuing hotel guests as a fire broke out.

He is survived by his wife Elizabeth and two young children.

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