Prime Minister and Conservation Minister acknowledge tragic helicopter accident

 Prime Minister and Conservation Minister acknowledge tragic helicopter accident

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage have today expressed their deep-felt sympathy for the families, colleagues and friends of those who died in today’s helicopter crash in Wanaka.

There were three victims in the crash, a pilot and two Department of Conservation (DOC) staff.

The helicopter was on its way to undertake tahr control in the Haast area when it crashed.

“My heart goes out to the families and loved ones of all those who died in today’s tragic crash,” Jacinda Ardern said.

“DOC staff go to work every day on our behalf to take care of New Zealand’s precious environment. Their work can take them into dangerous situations. It’s an absolute tragedy that these staff and the helicopter pilot, who were just going about their work, will never return home.

“People will want answers. The Transport Accident Investigation Commission is investigating, and it is too early to discuss the cause of the crash. We will make sure we get to the bottom of this crash as soon as we can”

Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage expressed her heartfelt sympathy.

“This is a devastating tragedy. My thoughts and sympathies are with the families and work colleagues of the two DOC staff members and the helicopter pilot,” Eugenie Sage said.

“I know that DOC is supporting the families and the work colleagues struck by this tragedy. Director General Lou Sanson has flown south to be of assistance and I will be doing the same to offer what support I can.

“I have huge admiration for the skill, expertise and dedication of Department of Conservation staff and operators like the helicopter pilot.  They were flying today and using their professional skills as part of their work to protect nature. Their loss is profoundly felt.”

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