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Pilot's Body Recovered From Air Crash Site

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The body of 28-year-old pilot Ben Israel Gaastra has been winched from the site where his Cessna 152 crashed yesterday evening.

He will now be taken to New Plymouth and the death has been referred to the Coroner.

Debris from the crashed Cessna was spotted from the air during a search this morning (Wednesday, 22 July) and a three-strong team of search and rescue personnel from New Plymouth Police and the Alpine Cliff Rescue were winched into the area.

Senior Sergeant Matt Prendergast said: "The site was dense bush on a very steep hill and although the location is only about 2km from the road it would take half a day or more to walk to the location on foot, giving an indication as to the difficult nature of the terrain.

"Poor weather conditions, coupled with the very dense bush, hampered our night search even with the use of night vision. We were fortunate daylight brought some improvement to the weather conditions and some lifting of the clouds and a piece of the aircraft was spotted high in the trees."

Once the rescue team were winched into the area they discovered the rest of the wreckage from the plane spread over a relatively small area. The body of Ben Gaastra was found among the wreckage.

Volunteers from Tainui Search and Rescue were also on standby to assist in the search but didn't have to be utilised.

As the matter is now in the jurisdiction of the Coroner and the cause of the crash will be subject to an investigation by the Civil Aviation Authority police will making no further comment.

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