UPDATE #3 - Search underway for missing helicopter in Nelson region

8 October 2014, 7:00am

Up to four helicopters and two land-based search and rescue teams will today resume the search for a helicopter that went missing yesterday on a flight from Karamea, on the West Coast to Nelson.

Its last known position, at around 8am, was over steep, bush-covered terrain, 35km west of Motueka.

The two land-based teams will focus on a search either side of the Flora River, beginning shortly after 8am.

The helicopter searching will begin around 10am, weather permitting, when the sun has risen sufficiently to reduce the effect of shadows.

A front of bad weather, bringing with it rain, strong winds, and low cloud, is forecast to pass through the area at mid-morning which could delay the air search for a period.

No emergency beacon signal has been detected from the missing helicopter and the search area is based on information from the helicopter’s tracking system. The area being searched is around 5km in each direction from that point.

Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand (RCCNZ) search and rescue controller Keith Allen said the search area had been divided into smaller sections for today’s search.

“The bush canopy in the area is very thick and we will be using the helicopters to conduct a very low altitude, low speed search of those areas,” he said.

“The teams on the ground will have a view up into the canopy and will also check for signs, such as fuel, in the river.”

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