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NZ - another helicopter missing

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NZ - another helicopter missing

Old 11th Jan 2004, 08:20
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NZ - Robinson missing since yesterday

Search on for another missing helicopter

11.01.2004 9.15am

A search is underway this morning for a helicopter missing in the central North Island.

The Robinson R22 took off from Taupo with two people on board around lunchtime yesterday.

Police and the National Rescue Co-ordination Centre are asking for help from members of the public for any information on the chopper, which has the call sign HXT.

It is the second helicopter to go missing recently, with the search for a Hughes helicopter that disappeared in the Milford Sound area called off yesterday morning. The pilot and an English tourist aboard have not been found.

source

also

Helicopter Disappearance Baffling
11/01/2004 12:53 PM
NewstalkZB

Search coordinators are baffled by the disappearance of a helicopter in the last 30 minutes of its flight.

The Robinson 22 chopper left Taupo with two people on board around eleven o'clock yesterday morning.

It was en route to Te Puke with a flight time of less than one hour.

National Rescue Coordination Centre spokesman Jim McLean says they're still trying to define a search area.

He says the helicopter last made contact at 11.21, confirming with Taupo it was heading to Te Puke.

He says there is a report it did enter the area around Rotorua.

source
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Old 11th Jan 2004, 11:56
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Red face Here we go again.....

Search on for another missing helicopter

11.01.2004
9.15am
A search is underway this morning for a helicopter missing in the central North Island.

The Robinson R22 took off from Taupo with two people on board around lunchtime yesterday.

Police and the National Rescue Co-ordination Centre are asking for help from members of the public for any information on the chopper, which has the call sign HXT.

It is the second helicopter to go missing recently, with the search for a Hughes helicopter that disappeared in the Milford Sound area called off yesterday morning. The pilot and an English tourist aboard have not been found.

- Newstalk ZB
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Old 11th Jan 2004, 13:03
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update

Rotorua pair missing in helicopter
11 January 2004

Several possible air sightings of a helicopter with two people on board missing near Taupo may lead to its location, a search and rescue leader said today.

The ZK-HXT Robinson 22 helicopter, commonly known as an R22, last made contact with air traffic control at 11.21am yesterday, National Search and Rescue Co-ordination Centre (NRCC) spokesman Jim McLean said.

On board were pilot Chris Barns, 50, and passenger Kim Austin, 45, both of Rotorua.

"The helicopter left Taupo at 11am and contacted the Taupo tower at 11.21am to say it was headed for Te Puke and was at 2200ft."

Police were contacted after the pilot and passenger did not make it to their destination.

"Police conducted a search and asked the NRCC to take over at 11.30pm," Mr McLean said.

An aerial search today by six helicopters was covering an area of 1200sq km, starting 22km north of Taupo and ending 17km east of Rotorua, with a band 20km wide.

"We've had about a dozen sighting and hearing reports of aircraft some fitting the white helicopter's description," Mr McLean said.

The R22 was fitted with an emergency beacon, but there had been no signals received.

"The pilot didn't file a flight plan, although we have most of the information that would have been in a plan, such as how many on board, where it was going and what time it left."

Today's operation began the day after an NRCC aerial search for a Hughes helicopter missing in Fiordland was indefinitely suspended.

However, ground searchers co-ordinated by Te Anau police may go in on Tuesday, weather permitting, to look for 27-year-old pilot Campbell Montgomerie from Hamilton and his 28-year-old English passenger, Hannah Rose Timings.

Mr McLean said the central North Island search terrain was "a little better" than that covered in Fiordland.

"But there's virgin bush in there, as well as exotic forest, so to some extent we have the same problem."

R22 helicopters, made to carry a maximum two people, were one of the smallest in the country and were commonly used for deer recovery operations, he said.

"It is true to say there have been more accidents involving R22 helicopters than most other helicopters, not because they are unsafe, but because of the way people use them."

Further details of the missing pilot or the passenger would not be released at this stage, he said.

source
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Old 12th Jan 2004, 05:18
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Unhappy

Latest update is search was called off 15 mins ago as they found the crash site and both bodies were still in the wreckage.

Barnsey and Kim Austin were found near Atiamuri Dam.

Autorotate.

Just some additional info about Barnesy.


Mr Barnes, who has logged several hundred flying hours, was familiar with the terrain, which includes dense forest and bushland.

One friend, Shamus Howard, was holidaying in the Marlborough Sounds when he heard the news yesterday morning.

He immediately cut his holiday short and returned to Taupo to offer his assistance.

Mr Howard met Mr Barns, 50, and Mr Austin, 45, through a mutual love of jetsprinting several years ago. He also taught Mr Barns to fly.

"Chris first learned to fly in Rotorua five years ago. He stopped for a little while and basically started up about a year ago. He's an extremely capable pilot."

Mr Barns was used to flying five-seater turbine helicopters and Robinson 22s.

He often used his helicopter to transport machinery for his business, which services equipment for the logging industry.

As well as having a world ranking in jetsprinting, Mr Barns is a rally driver.

Mr Howard said his friend was a "petrolhead' who loved his sports. But he was also a safe pilot who could "clearly determine the difference between racing a jetboat and climbing into a helicopter".

"He's extremely conservative in the helicopter."

Mr Barns is married with four grown daughters. Mr Austin is also married with children.

Barns was the NZ Jetsprint Association's Open A / Superboat champion in 1999 and 2000.
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Old 12th Jan 2004, 05:53
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So sorry to hear that sad news. My thoughts are with their families.
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Old 12th Jan 2004, 06:40
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Here we go again.....
How crass....
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Old 12th Jan 2004, 09:12
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Sincere condolences to Barnseys family. Another Rotorua lad and local who will be sorely missed.
RIP.
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Old 13th Jan 2004, 02:11
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Wife's wait for call that never came

13.01.2004
By JO-MARIE BROWN

When helicopter pilot Chris Barns failed to call his wife, Jill, to say he had landed safely, she began to worry.

The 50-year-old rally driver and international jetsprint champion always phoned their Rotorua home after each flight to say he was okay, but as darkness fell on Saturday there was still no word.

Sick with worry, Mrs Barns raised the alarm and up to a dozen helicopters took to the sky the following day to search for her husband and his passenger, Kim Austin, 45, of Tauranga, who ran a fishing charter company on Lake Taupo.

"I just stood by the phone the whole time. We were really hopeful that he was just stuck somewhere, waiting to be found," Mrs Barns said.

Daughter Michelle, 28, even envisaged her father as the sort who would walk out of the wreckage if there had been an accident.

But yesterday morning the search, which had stretched over 2800sq km, came to an end when a fertiliser contractor stumbled upon the crumpled Robinson R22 helicopter in a paddock at Aratiatia, about 10km northeast of Taupo.

Neither Mr Barns nor his passenger had survived.

A search team had flown over the area late on Sunday afternoon but were believed to have mistaken the small pile of wreckage for a log.

Civil Aviation Authority safety investigator Tom McCready examined the scene yesterdayand said any number of thingscould have caused the three-year-old helicopter to crash.

"You can go from pilot incapacitation through to mechanical failure or perhaps a controlling error. At this stage, it's far too early to jump to conclusions."

Mr Barns' friends and colleagues believe the chopper probably broke up in midair as debris was scattered over a wide area. The machine came to rest upside down, gouging a small crater.

There have been at least 23 other accidents involving R22 helicopters since 2000, two of which have also claimed lives.

Mr McCready said the two-seater helicopters were extremely popular and were as mechanically sound as any other make or model.

"I wouldn't read too much into the fact that it's a Robinson. It's just that there's a lot of them."

Mr Barns' business, Priceright Parts and Machinery, services equipment for the logging industry.

He told his wife before Saturday's flight that he was going to check a piece of machinery.

Mr Austin, his long-time friend and a fellow rally driver, agreedto accompany him and they tookoff from Taupo airfield at 11.17am and were understood to havebeen heading to Te Puke.

Yesterday, the family and friends of both men were struggling to come to grips with the tragedy.

Mrs Barns and her four daughters, aged 31, 28, 27 and 25, said Mr Barns loved his sport and had always wanted to drive a rally car and fly a helicopter.

"He was very good at anything he tried and he lived life to the fullest," his wife said. "He really enjoyed his helicopter. He was so careful and so particular."

Mr Barns turned 50 just before Christmas but had decided to put off the celebrations until the New Year to get away from the busy season.

He took up jetsprinting in 1996 and was ranked second in the world in the superboat class.

Those involved in the high-speed sport were also mourning him.

"He just jumped in a boat and won his first event," said Mrs Barns.

He had taken up jetsprinting because it was less time-consuming and would give him more time with his family.

The president of the International Jetsprinting Federation, Eryn Moore, yesterday described Mr Barns as a "fussy professional".

"He loved to go fast but everything had to be right and he very rarely made a mistake. To think that something has gone wrong like this is quite devastating."

Mr Moore said Mr Barns had helped many people who had been fired by his enthusiasm.

"There were so many people he helped out along the way. It's being felt around the world."

Members of Mr Austin's family did not wish to speak publicly yesterday but Mr Moore said the rally driver, who had three teenage children, was also a "full of life sort of guy".

"The fact that they're gone hasn't even begun to sink in yet."
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Old 13th Jan 2004, 07:22
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take a look at this link, has a photo attached.

quite chilling!!

http://www.vpmag.com/yssy/viewtopic.php?t=5993
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Old 13th Jan 2004, 08:21
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Am glad someone else posted the photo, didnt feel right doing so as I knew Chris.

Spoke to another friend of mine who was one of the first on the scene and will pass on the info he gave me. Now this is a personal opinion and not gospel.

From his view it looks like Chris "could have" done a cyclic climb and then when he did a little push forward at the top it has caused a mast bump as there were tell tale signs on the blade that are consistent with that happening.

Whatever happened it was catastrophic and as per the other persons post on the other site yes the field had been ploughed but they did come down inverted from quite a height. At least it would have been quick for them, although it would have been a long ride down.

Chris will always be remembered as a great guy, loving family man and a perfectionist and I find it hard that he could have made a mistake like this, IF that was the case. Didnt know Kim but heard he was also a dedicated family man.

May they rest in peace and all condolences to their families.

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Old 13th Jan 2004, 10:55
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If mast bumbing, how would you explain the skid gear seperating from the rest of the fuselage and being several metres from the rest of the wreckage? your thoughts???
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Old 13th Jan 2004, 11:21
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Not being an aerodynamiscist (spelling ?) not sure but what about because it hit so hard inverted the attachments broke and they got tossed away.

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