New Zealand rescuers reach site where chopper with 7 crashed

  • AP, Wellington
  • Updated: Nov 21, 2015 09:24 IST
Firefighters work to extinguish fire, which overtook a Mi-28N from the Berkuty (Golden Eagles) helicopter display team after a hard touchdown during the "Aviadarts" military aviation competition at the Dubrovichi range near Ryazan, Russia. (Reuters/Maxim Shemetov)

Rescue teams reached a scenic glacier where a helicopter carrying seven people crashed Saturday, but authorities say crevasses and rugged terrain are hampering their efforts.

The extent of any injuries or fatalities to the pilot and six passengers aboard remained unclear.

Authorities said the helicopter crashed at about 11 am on Fox Glacier, a popular tourist destination on New Zealand’s South Island.

A rescue helicopter used a winch to lower a paramedic and an alpine rescue team onto the crash site, said Vince Cholewa, a spokesman for Maritime New Zealand. He said the area where the helicopter crashed was filled with crevasses and treacherous terrain, which was complicating their efforts.

He said the team on the scene had yet to report back with an assessment of any injuries or fatalities. He said there was low cloud in the area, but otherwise the rescuers had not reported being hampered by the weather.

Cholewa said it was a commercial helicopter that crashed, but he didn’t have details yet on whether the passengers were tourists.

Tourism companies regularly fly visitors onto the popular glacier so they can view it up close.

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