Wreckage of firefighting helicopter lifted out in five loads in 'challenging' operation




The wreckage of the helicopter that crashed on Tuesday during firefighting operations on the hills behind Christchurch, killing the pilot, has been recovered in what the Transport Accident Investigation Commission calls a challenging operation.

The pilot of the Squirrel helicopter, former SAS soldier Steve Askin, died in the crash near the Sugarloaf car park. He had been fighting the fires on the Port Hills.

The main fuselage being airlifted out of a steep gully under the Sugarloaf in Christchurch.

Source: Transport Accident Investigation Commission

Commission investigator Steve Walker said the recovery operation this afternoon was challenging. 

"The wreckage was in a steep gully under the Sugarloaf and conditions were hot and windy, making it challenging for the ground crew loading the wreckage, and the investigators," Mr Walker said.

The wreckage was lifted out in five loads and placed on a truck for transport to a secure site in Christchurch from where it will be transported to the commission’s technical facility in Wellington for further analysis. 

The commission had planned to begin the airlift this morning but had to wait for clearance to use the road which had been closed because of the threat from the bushfire. 

The helicopter pilot's friends have spoken of the loss of the former SAS soldier, who died fighting the Port Hills fire.
Source: 1 NEWS

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