Three females, one male recovered from Fox Glacier

The wreckage of the helicopter on Fox Glacier (NZ police)
The wreckage of the helicopter on Fox Glacier (NZ police)

Police in Fox Glacier have confirmed the four bodies extracted from the wreckage of a crashed helicopter on Sunday are that of three women and a man.

Heavy rain and low cloud has, for the second day, prevented searchers from flying to the crash site high up on the glacier to extract the remaining three bodies.

Searchers were never hopeful of getting up to the wreckage today, with misty clouds keeping the helicopters on the ground for a second day.

The flag remained at half-mast at the search and rescue (SAR) base as claggy weather hampered any efforts Cliff Alpine Rescue teams had of retrieving the remaining bodies.

"For us that's a priority, obviously, for the families we want to return them home," Senior Constable Brent Swanson says.

The helicopter crash that killed seven people, including Kiwi pilot Mitch Gamerren, had been taking off from a lookout point on the glacier known as the Chancellor.

When the cloud lifts, a team of 12 police and SAR personnel will be dropped near the crash site, all connected by rope.

A staging platform will be flattened out below the wreckage to form a landing zone and the camp site.

It will then take around half an hour to cut an access path up to the two main pieces of what's left of the helicopter – the tail section and the fuselage.

A short break in the weather on Sunday allowed for four bodies to be recovered and taken to Christchurch for autopsies.

"We've basically done the easy ones," Swanson says. "The next ones we don't know where they are until we get in there on the ground."

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