New Zealand Helicopter Crash: Aviation Lawyers Call For ‘Comprehensive Investigation’

Seven Killed In Fox Glacier Crash


Expert aviation lawyers at Irwin Mitchell with experience dealing with fatal helicopter crashes at home and abroad have called for a thorough investigation into a fatal helicopter crash in New Zealand that left seven people dead.

The tragic incident took place on Saturday (21 November) as the helicopter flew over the Fox Glacier on New Zealand’s South Island.

British tourists Andrew Virco, 50, and Katharine Walker, 51, from Cambridge, and Nigel and Helen Charlton, aged 66 and 70, from Hampshire died in the crash, alongside Sovannmony Leang, 27, and Josephine Gibson, 29, both from New South Wales, Australia, and pilot Mitchell Gameren, 28, from Queenstown, New Zealand.

Reports suggest the helicopter involved is a Eurocopter "Squirrel" operated by local firm Alpine Adventures, which also trades as Fox Glacier Heliservices.

Reacting to reports of the crash, specialist aviation lawyers at Irwin Mitchell have emphasised the importance of authorities working quickly to determine how the crash occurred.

The legal experts specialise in providing legal support to injured victims and the families of those killed in aviation accidents both in the UK and abroad.

Jim Morris, a former RAF pilot and Partner in the aviation team, who has represented individuals seriously injured, and those who lost loved ones in aviation incidents, including the helicopter crash at the Clutha pub in Glasgow, and the Sita Air crash in Nepal in September 2012, said the investigation into this latest tragic incident should be comprehensive and swift.

Expert Opinion
“Given the inhospitable location of the accident, it is crucial that the accident investigators are able to recover all of the wreckage so that they can have the best evidence to determine the chain of events that led to the tragedy.

"A key factor that could hamper the investigation is if the helicopter was not fitted with flight data and cockpit voice recording ‘black box’ equipment. In the Eurocopter Crash into the Clutha Pub in Glasgow, the helicopter was not fitted with black box equipment which made the investigation significantly more difficult and left a number of questions unanswered.

“It is to be hoped that there will be sufficient evidence available to identify all factors that contributed to this accident and that the accident investigators promptly publish an accident report so that lessons can be learned.

“Amongst other things, this report should include a review of actions taken by the pilot, as well as assessment of the weather conditions and whether any technical or mechanical faults or issues could have caused or contributed to this crash.

“It is hugely important that the families of those who lost their lives on Saturday are provided with clear answers and assurances that any necessary flight safety improvements will be implemented.”
Jim Morris, Partner