Pilot watches $2m helicopter pulled from Porirua Harbour

(Emma Jolliff/ Newshub)
(Emma Jolliff/ Newshub)

The helicopter that crashed into Porirua Harbour on Tuesday has been recovered from the water.

Salvage crews attached flotation bags to the BK117 helicopter and towed it to shore, where it was lifted by crane onto a truck.

Pilot Rick Lucas, who was in the aircraft when it crashed, and his 13-year-old son Bryn watched it as it came in.

"I'm sad to lose the machine, but I'm happy to be here".

Bryn told his dad he wished he'd brought his camera.

"I'm not going to do it again for you son", Mr Lucas joked.

(Emma Jolliff/ Newshub)
(Emma Jolliff/ Newshub)

The Search and Rescue pilot landed in the only shallow part of the inlet.

"I didn't have any control over that, once it happened I was a passenger."

The cause of the crash is being investigated by the Transport Accident Investigation Commission, but Mr Lucas believes the helicopter suffered a "catastrophic failure of the tail boom pylon".

He says the BK117, worth between $1.5-$2m, is a write-off because of damage caused by saltwater corrosion.

Mr Lucas confirmed he will appear in court later this month on a charge of careless use of an aircraft, in relation to a low flying incident in April last year.

(Emma Jolliff/ Newshub)
(Emma Jolliff/ Newshub)

He told Newshub he was flying over Haywards Gap to a commercial lifting job when he descended to avoid a squall.

Mr Lucas says he filled in what's called a Section 13a straight afterwards, to explain why he'd breached regulation.

Mr Lucas will be defending the charge.