Brother pays tribute to 'effervescent, larger than life' pilot Nick Wallis, killed in Wanaka helicopter crash

Today Jonathan Wallis paid tribute to his brother, pilot Nick Wallis, who was killed in a fatal helicopter crash in Wanaka yesterday.

Nick Wallis along with Department of Conservation workers Paul Hondelink, 63, and Scott Theobold, 57 died in the crash.

Paying tribute to his brother today Jonathan Wallace said Nick was "effervescent, and larger than life".

"Nick was larger than life in the literal context, he was six-foot-six, 120 kilograms, but he was effervescent, nothing was a problem for him."

The brothers came from an aviation family, sons to aviation pioneer Sir Tim Wallis, who manages Alpine Helicopters.

"He genuinely loved what he did, and it doesn’t make it any easier he died doing what he loved at all, but he was good at what he did," Jonathan said of Nick.

This wasn’t the only tragedy to hit the family, three months ago, their brother Matthew Wallis was also killed in a helicopter accident when it crashed into Lake Wanaka.

"That’s a cruel reality, that its not quite three months since Matthew's death in a helicopter accident not far from here and of course that makes it hard," Jonathan said.

Jonathan went on to say the accident could’ve happened to anyone.

"That morning I’d gone out to flying early and had spoken to Nick before I’d gone…it could've been any of us in that helicopter," he said.

Jonathan says his family are grateful to have received support from the local community.

"We're very fortunate in Wanaka, we're fortunate in the South Island, we're fortunate in New Zealand, that we really do support each other."

Mr Wallis said the next step for the family will be "getting Nick back to his family," acknowledging that "the process will take a bit of time".

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Mr Wallis described his brother Nick as “larger than life” and said he “genuinely loved what he did”. Source: 1 NEWS