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NZ plane crash kills British man

A British man who was due to take a pilot's test in New Zealand has died during a training flight in the country.

Christopher Howell, 46, died along with his local instructor Christopher Rawlings, when they crashed into a riverbed near the North Island town of Hastings yesterday.

The 46-year-old was already a qualified pilot in the UK but planned to validate his licence in New Zealand by taking a test this week.

He was practising a low-flying exercise in a Piper Tomahawk plane when the crash happened.

Bruce Govenlock, the President of Hawke's Bay & East Coast Aero Club, who Mr Howell was training with, said the club was in shock.

"We didn't know of him until Saturday when he arrived for some practice lessons with an instructor.

"The crash happened on his third flight of the weekend. It's hard to believe, he arrived Saturday and Sunday morning this had happened.

"He said he planned to get a New Zealand licence and find an employment opportunity over here. We understand he had a wife and children back in Britain."

Mr Govenlock added that Mr Howell would have been flying the plane but that the instructor would have been using a duel control system.

Mr Rawlings, 48, from the nearby town of Clive, had been a member of the club for more than 20 years and was a former club captain.

The country's Civil Aviation Authority is investigating the cause of the crash.


From Belfast Telegraph