Civil Aviation Authority launches investigation into helicopter crash in Far North

A Robinson R22 helicopter

A Robinson R22 helicopter was involved in Sunday’s crash in the Far North (file photo)

A helicopter crash that left one person in hospital in the Far North on Sunday is being investigated by the Civil Aviation Authority.

The Robinson R22 helicopter plummeted to the ground at about 3.20pm, after attempting to take off from a grassy reserve on Whangaroa Harbour waterfront.

The two-seater light helicopter had climbed just a few metres from the ground when witnesses said it appeared to lose control and crashed onto its side.

People who had been relaxing at the nearby Whangaroa Sport Fishing Club tipped the chopper back onto its skids, so the occupants could get out.

A police spokesperson said one person was taken to Bay of Islands Hospital with moderate injuries after the crash. The other occupant is understood to have suffered only minor injuries.

The chopper’s rotors were bent where they struck the ground, police said.

Civil Aviation Authority acting deputy chief executive for aviation safety Adrian Duncan said the wreckage had been removed from the reserve.

The authority was liaising with police and the pilot as part of its initial evidence-gathering.

Police, St John Ambulance and volunteer fire brigades from Kāeo and Kerikeri responded to the crash.

The Northland Rescue Helicopter responded, but returned to base when it became clear there were no serious injuries.

A MetService meteorologist said the wind at Whangaroa Harbour was not particularly strong on Sunday afternoon, with gusts of 15 to 20 knots further north at Cape Karikari and up to 35 knots at Okahu Island, in the Bay of Islands, at the time.

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