Wreckage confirmed as missing chopper

NZ Newswire Updated November 22, 2012, 7:26 pm

Police have confirmed a wreckage found in Fiordland on Wednesday is that of a helicopter which went missing with two people aboard almost nine years ago.

The wreckage, spread across a large area in rugged terrain, was seen by passengers on a scenic helicopter flight over Hollyford Valley about 4pm on Wednesday.

Following a scene examination on Thursday, police have confirmed the wreckage is that of the Hughes 500 helicopter that went missing in the area in January 2004 with Waikato pilot Campbell Montgomerie and English woman Hannah Timmings on board.

Police say the pair are still to be formally identified, but this will be done using DNA.

Mr Montgomerie, 27 at the time, and Ms Timmings, 28, were on a scheduled flight of 13 nautical miles from the Howden Hut on the Routeburn Track to Milford Sound when they went missing.

No trace of them was found despite an extensive search in excess of 200 flying hours and 2500 man hours.

The pair were declared to have died at an inquest in Te Anau in August 2004.

Police say the wreckage of the helicopter was found at the extremities of the original search area.

Inspector Olaf Jensen said he hopes the discovery of the wreckage brings some closure to the families of Mr Montgomerie and Ms Timmings.

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