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Pilot who died in mid-air crash near Masterton remembered for love of family and cricket

The bodies of two pilots who died yesterday in a mid-air plane crash have now both been removed from the scene of the wreckage in Masterton as a tribute for one of them was posted online.

The two light aircraft collided as they were coming in to land at Hood Aerodrome. A helicopter, also preparing to land, avoided the impact.

The planes, which grounded just next to Hughes Line about 70 metres apart, will be removed tomorrow and cordons will remain in place until then.

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Reporter Kate-Nicol Williams was among the reporters allowed inside the cordon today.

One of the planes, used to drop off sky divers, has been broken into several pieces, with the main body of the aircraft blackened from an explosion after catching fire.

The other plane is largely intact, but the cockpit is severely damaged.

Emergency services were called to the crash at about 11.15am yesterday.

Today, a tribute for one of the pilots killed in the crash was posted on Facebook.

Craig McBride was a long serving member of the Wairarapa Cricket Association and was remembered fondly by other members.

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The light planes collided mid-air near Masterton shortly after four parachutists jumped. Source: 1 NEWS

"Craig donated untold volunteer hours in a significant number of settings – including, but not limited to, Lansdowne Cricket Club (for which Craig was a life member), Rathkeale College, the WCA itself and in recent times, Wairarapa College.

"On behalf of the whole WCA Community, we wish to express our sincere condolences to all those impacted by this tragic event, especially Craig’s wife and daughters," a Facebook tribute reads.

Four parachutists were on board one of the planes but had dived off it shortly before it crashed, police said.

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Wairarapa Police Area Commander Scott Miller describes the mid-air two-plane crash in Masterton today. Source: 1 NEWS

Police are looking to speak with anyone who witnessed yesterday's light aircraft crash who hasn't yet come forward.

The bodies of both pilots have been removed from the scene of the crash site near Masterton.
The bodies of both pilots have been removed from the scene of the crash site near Masterton. Source: 1 NEWS