Two Dead After Light Planes Collide Mid-Air in New Zealand

By Web Staff

MELBOURNE—Two light aircraft collided mid-air on their final approach at a regional aerodrome in New Zealand on June 16 killing both pilots, police said.

Four parachutists on board of one of the planes had jumped shortly before it crashed with the other plane, a training aircraft. A helicopter, also preparing to land, managed to avoid the collision.

The police said that both planes dropped immediately after impact, hitting the ground south of the Hood Aerodrome near the town of Masterton.

There was no immediate information about a potential cause of the crash and the police would not release the names of the victims, saying they were still trying to locate family members.

Witnesses told New Zealand media that they heard a loud bang and saw the planes spiraling down.

Stuff.nz, a New Zealand news website, cited a local pilot instructor saying the aerodrome was unrestricted up to 9,500 feet, but pilots were required to record their movements through a shared radio channel.

One of the planes belonged to Skydive Wellington while the other to the Wairarapa Aero Club. The Hood Aerodrome is owned and operated by the Masterton District Council.

“We have a close-knit community at Hood Aerodrome and the incident has understandably rocked that community,” the council said in a statement on its website.

1 Dead After 2 Small Planes Collide Near Florida Airpark

Two weeks ago, two small planes collided in air near a Florida airpark, killing one man and injuring another.

Florida Highway Patrol spokesman Dylan Bryan said 77-year-old David Dollarhide had just taken off in a two-seat kit plane near Haller Airpark in Green Cove Springs on the morning of May 29 when he hit a plane piloted by 74-year-old Robert Woolley that was already in the air.

Bryan says Dollarhide’s plane went down near the Clay County Fairgrounds, several miles north of the airpark, while Woolley’s crashed into a wooded area closer to the airpark.

Dollarhide was hospitalized with injuries that were not believed to be life-threatening.

Bryan says both pilots lived near the private airfield, which did not have a control tower.

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating.

The Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.