'Extensive damage' after Robinson chopper crashes near Arrowtown

by Kim Bowden - Jan 30, 2024

A helicopter has suffered extensive damage after crashing on a mountain behind Arrowtown, while its two occupants have come away unscathed.

The Robinson R22 helicopter crashed on Mt Hyde on Monday night.

A spokesperson for Maritime New Zealand's Rescue Co-ordination Centre says the organisation was alerted to the incident at 7.15pm and a rescue helicopter was sent to the location.

"It retrieved the two people who were on-board at the time; they were both uninjured."

The matter is now being investigated by the Civil Aviation Authority.

A spokesperson for the authority says the helicopter crashed on landing and "suffered extensive damage".

"The pilot in command has submitted a full report to CAA with substantial information to support our evaluation of the accident. The helicopter will be removed from the site today."

Robinson helicopters have a turbulent track record in New Zealand.

A coroner's report in 2022 in relation to the 2015 deaths of two men after an accident in a Robinson R44 near Queenstown says the rotor heads on the R44 and R22 models are particularly vulnerable to gusts, turbulence, and wind direction changes, even at relatively conservative speeds.

"Many areas in New Zealand are mountainous and moderate to severe turbulence is likely. Therefore Robinson helicopters are vulnerable for much of the flying that is done in them in New Zealand," the report reads.

The Department of Conservation has ceased flying its staff in Robinson helicopters, as well as subsequently extending the ban to include contractors, sub-contractors and volunteers, due to a high number of fatal crashes.

Main image (Facebook): A Robinson R22.

Support Crux Support Crux