Wairarapa pilot killed in mid-air collision was 'passionate' teacher and cricketer

One of the pilots killed in a mid-air collision was an experienced teacher and long-time volunteer in Wairarapa cricket.

Investigators are still at the scene of yesterday's investigation.

Civil Aviation are now examining the wreckage of the two planes and beginning the task of finding out what went so horribly wrong.

One of those killed was Craig McBride, a beloved teacher, cricket enthusiast and pilot.

"Craig was extremely passionate about whatever he did," said close friend and current Blackcaps all-rounder Doug Bracewell.

Bracewell has been friends with McBride since they were schoolboys and says a mutual friend came to see him yesterday afternoon.

"I'd thought about who was it, and thought it couldn't be Craig and when I saw Cliff at the door it sunk in," he told Newshub.

McBride taught at nearby Rathkeale College for more than 20 years and was also a strong supporter of local cricket - he'd coached star Blackcaps batsman Ross Taylor as a boy.

The Wairarapa Cricket Association said he'd donated countless hours as a volunteer and helped thousands of players. 

Doug Bracewell - part of the famous Bracewell cricket dynasty - says McBride was himself an institution in local cricket.

"He was a chairman of the Wairarapa Cricket Association for a period and his current status was with Wairarapa College, where he'd been coaching for three or four years," he said.

McBride had also been flying for a few years and Bracewell flew with him a few times and said he was very careful.

Carterton Mayor, John Booth is also a pilot and says the deaths have sent shockwaves through the community.

And Booth is adamant Hood Aerodrome is a safe environment.

"It has been upgraded meticulously, it's of good quality," he told Newshub.

The other pilot hasn't been named. 

He flew for Wellington Skydive and had dropped off four skydivers minutes before the crash

The two planes will sit 100 metres apart in the farmland where they crashed for another night until they're removed on Tuesday.



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