Mt Cook plane crash: survivors named

27 August 2007

Two men who survived a plane crash in Mount Cook’s Gammock Range yesterday have been named.

They are flight instructor Richard Bateman, 27, and Nicholas Eagleson (age unknown) of Auckland.

Mr Eagleson is in a serious condition but is conscious and is being treated at Christchurch Hospital. Mr Bateman is in a stable condition in Timaru hospital. The men are members of the North Shore Aero Club.

Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand (RCCNZ) launched a search for the two men after their airplane, a Robin R2120, was reported overdue at 4pm yesterday while flying from Christchurch to Mount Cook. The plane’s emergency beacon was activated at around the same time that it was reported overdue.

The plane is owned by the North Shore Aero Club.

Searchers found Mr Bateman at a hut in Fork Stream between Lake Tekapo and Lake Pukaki after he walked about 5km from the crash site in steep terrain to try to raise the alarm. 

RCCNZ Mission Controller, Dave Wilson, said the success of this rescue was a result of the combined efforts of aircraft and crew from the Helicopter Line, Mount Cook; Air Safari’s and particularly the Westpac Rescue Helicopter from Christchurch, whose crew managed to winch the pilot from the side of a mountain in very difficult conditions.

Editor’s Note:

RCCNZ is not able to offer any more updates on the medical status of the survivors. Please refer to the respective hospitals for these.

The names of the survivors are not able to be released at this time.The contact person for North Shore Aero Club is Ian Couper on 09 478 6351. Ian is the club president.

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