Police name three victims of Wanaka helicopter crash

Police have revealed the identity of the third man who died in a helicopter crash near Wanaka Airport.

He was Department of Conservation (DoC) ranger Scott Theobald. Alpine Group pilot Nick Wallis and DoC ranger Scott Theobald had previously been named as being killed when the helicopter they were travelling in crashed on its way to the West Coast.

Mr Wallis was the helicopter's pilot and had worked with DoC for several years. His brother Matt Wallis was killed in a separate helicopter crash in July.

Scott Theobald was a DoC ranger known for introducing dogs to DoC's work. Stuff reports Paul Hondelink was a biodiversity specialist.

On Friday DoC director general Lou Sanson told Radio New Zealand's Morning Report he had worked with the men and the entire department is in shock.

He said the entire country had lost a wealth of experience in the crash, both with the DoC staff and Mr Wallis.

"We've lost some of the most significant experience in New Zealand, if not the world yesterday," he told Radio New Zealand.

The helicopter had been on its way to meet a Newshub crew in Haast to discuss the tahr cull, which begun yesterday.

Stuff reports the tahr cull has been put on hold.


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