3 helicopter crew found safe on New Zealand island day later


WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Three crewmen aboard a helicopter that crashed off the New Zealand coast while on a rescue mission were found alive on a remote island Tuesday after they were missing overnight.

Rescue Coordination Centre spokesman Mark Dittmer said the men were found shortly before noon in their survival suits walking along a beach on uninhabited Auckland Island, some 500 kilometers (311 miles) southwest of the town of Invercargill where they’d left from 16 hours earlier.

He said the crew had some injuries and were being flown by helicopter to a hospital in Invercargill. The wreckage of the helicopter was found in the water near a neighboring island.

Dittmer said that while they don’t yet know all the details of what happened, it appears the helicopter crashed in the ocean near the islands and that the crew’s survival suits, also known as dry suits, helped them survive the frigid and stormy waters. He said it’s standard practice for crews to wear such suits while on rescue missions.

The helicopter left Monday evening to evacuate a person aboard a fishing boat who needed urgent medical attention, said rescue center duty manager Kevin Banaghan. On board were a pilot, a crew member and a paramedic.

Biden Now at Risk of Being Left Off Two State Election Ballots - 26 Electoral College Votes at Stake

He said the final contact with the helicopter was at 7:37 p.m. Monday, and it disappeared from radar tracking about 10 minutes later. He said there was no distress call and that the crew didn’t activate their emergency beacons, which worried rescuers. He said the water was about 11 degrees Celsius (52 Fahrenheit) at the time, and that the helicopter also contained a life raft.

An Air Force P-3 Orion plane used its radar to search for the missing crew overnight without success, Banaghan said. But then a fishing boat found a side door from the helicopter Tuesday morning in relatively good condition, he said, raising hopes that the impact of the crash hadn’t been too severe.

Other helicopters and fishing boats joined in the search. Dittmer said that one of those in the search party who found the trio was Sir Richard Hayes, who owns the helicopter company the pilot and crewman work for, Southern Lakes Helicopters.

The paramedic works for the St John medical organization. Pauline Buchanan, a St John district operations manager, said it’s pleased the men have been found alive and well and that the paramedic has been receiving medical treatment.

“His family feel a huge relief and is looking forward to being reunited with their husband and father later tonight,” Buchanan said in a statement.

Rescuers said the person on the fishing boat who prompted the evacuation attempt was also being transported to a hospital.

The Western Journal has not reviewed this Associated Press story prior to publication. Therefore, it may contain editorial bias or may in some other way not meet our normal editorial standards. It is provided to our readers as a service from The Western Journal.

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

The Associated Press is an independent, not-for-profit news cooperative headquartered in New York City. Their teams in over 100 countries tell the world’s stories, from breaking news to investigative reporting. They provide content and services to help engage audiences worldwide, working with companies of all types, from broadcasters to brands. Photo credit: @AP on Twitter
The Associated Press was the first private sector organization in the U.S. to operate on a national scale. Over the past 170 years, they have been first to inform the world of many of history's most important moments, from the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the bombing of Pearl Harbor to the fall of the Shah of Iran and the death of Pope John Paul.

Today, they operate in 263 locations in more than 100 countries relaying breaking news, covering war and conflict and producing enterprise reports that tell the world's stories.
New York City