'An absolute tragedy' - three people dead after helicopter crash near Wanaka

Department of Conservation (DOC) hunters were on board a helicopter which crashed this morning near Wanaka, killing three people.

Police have confirmed three people were on board the helicopter and that there were no survivors.

Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage confirmed today that DOC staff were on board.

"The focus is now on supporting the families of the men who died," Ms Sage said Wellington.

"It's an absolute tragedy, my heart goes out to their families and their workmates." 

The Conservation Minister described the helicopter crash as “an absolute tragedy”. Source: 1 NEWS

The ODT reports two DOC staff were on board the helicopter as well as pilot Nick Wallis. Mr Wallis is the brother of Matthew Wallis, who was killed in a helicopter crash on Lake Wanaka three months ago.

The Transport Accident Investigation Commission (TAIC) have confirmed that a Hughes 500 helicopter was involved and they had launched an inquiry into today's accident.

The scene of a helicopter crash near Wanaka.
The scene of a helicopter crash near Wanaka. Source: Supplied

A TAIC team of four, including three investigators are travelling to the crash site.

ONN 1 News at 6 promo image
For more on this story, watch 1 NEWS at 6pm. Source: 1 NEWS

Police received a call just before 11am from a member of the public who reportedly saw smoke coming out of a chopper in the area.


The scene of a helicopter crash near Wanaka.
The scene of a helicopter crash near Wanaka. Source: Supplied