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Lindis chopper crashed on passenger side

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 3/05/2016
Lindis Pass © Getty Images Lindis Pass

A helicopter that crashed in Central Otago hit the ground on the side where a passenger that died was seated, investigators say.

Liam Edwards, 32, from Otautau was killed in the crash on Saturday morning while the 51-year-old pilot was taken to Dunedin Hospital to be treated for head and chest injuries, where he is still recovering.

After days of being stalled by bad weather, investigators managed to reach the site of the crash, 200m down a steep bank in the Lindis Pass, on Tuesday morning.

"The Robinson R22 helicopter has collided with the terrain on its left side - sadly where the passenger was seated," the Civil Aviation Authority said.

It said the wreckage had been secured by rope and had been airlifted off the mountain to be taken to Wanaka Airport where it will be inspected.

Investigators also hope to soon speak to the pilot. Some personal belongings found in the helicopter have now been turned over to the police to return to families.

"The CAA will spend much of [Wednesday] examining the wreckage in close detail, looking for any clues that may have contributed to Saturday's tragic accident," investigators said.

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