One person has died after a helicopter crash near Reefton on the West Coast
The Transport Accident Investigation Commission launched an inquiry into the death of a pilot in a Robinson helicopter on the West Coast and two investigators were at the scene.
The Commission added Robinson helicopters to their watch list in October.
Since 1996 the Commission or the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) have investigated 14 mast bumping accidents or incidents involving Robinson helicopters. Six of these were in the past four years. A total of 18 people have died in these accidents.
Mast bumping is contact between an inner part of a main rotor blade or a rotor hub and the main rotor drive shaft. Mast bumping usually results in the helicopter breaking up during flight, which is fatal for those on board said The Transport Accident Investigation Comission.
The helicopter crashed into bush about 40km southeast of Westport near Reefton.
Police were called about the crash at about 7pm yesterday.
Air Safari Flight operations manager Tim Rayward said recording devices could help get to the bottom of the high crash rate of Robinson helicopters.
He did not believe it was a design problem. Rather, pilot-error needed to be looked into.
He said no helicopters in New Zealand were equipped with cameras because it was unaffordable, but prices were dropping.