Heli­copter man killed in crash was new dad

South Waikato News - - Your Paper, Your Place - DAISY HUD­SON

The man killed in a heli­copter crash near the Lindis Pass has left be­hind a wife and five-weekold son.

Liam Ed­wards, 32, orig­i­nally from Toko­roa, was killed when the heli­copter he was in came down in foggy con­di­tions at about 11am on Satur­day.

The heli­copter’s pi­lot, Mur­ray Sar­gin­son, 51, was flown to Dunedin Hospi­tal in a crit­i­cal con­di­tion with head and chest in­juries. Ed­wards was found dead at the scene.

His dev­as­tated wife, Jaimee Ed­wards, said that the pair, who cel­e­brated their first wed­ding an­niver­sary in Fe­bru­ary, had wel­comed son Alex just five weeks ago.

Ed­wards grew up in Toko­roa in the Waikato and grad­u­ated from For­est View High School.

An old friend from high school, who did not wish to be named, re­mem­bered him as a class clown who was well known for the blue Cortina that he drove and the time he showed up at the school ball driv­ing a trac­tor.

Ed­wards left Toko­roa when he was in his mid-20s.

A friend of Ed­wards posted on so­cial me­dia that he was ‘‘ab­so­lutely gut­ted’’ to hear his ‘‘true great mate’’ had died, while another com­mented that Ed­wards was a ‘‘true gen­tle­man’’.

The heli­copter, a Robin­son R22, was be­lieved to be owned by Aurum He­li­copters, a crop­spray­ing com­pany based in Cromwell.

Aurum He­li­copters chief ex­ec­u­tive Ben Sar­gin­son said the trip had been a pri­vate flight.

He con­firmed that Mur­ray Sar­gin­son was a fam­ily mem­ber, but de­clined to give any fur­ther de­tails.

Sar­gin­son was said to be ‘‘pro­gress­ing favourably’’ and his fam­ily were in Dunedin to be with him.

Sar­gin­son’s cousin, Don Sar­gin­son, said he was un­sure what the pur­pose of the flight had been.

Po­lice and the Civil Avi­a­tion Au­thor­ity (CAA) have launched an in­ves­ti­ga­tion fol­low­ing the in­ci­dent.

The ac­ci­dent site was about one kilo­me­tre from the Lindis Pass Road, he said.

Liam Ed­wards, 32, orig­i­nally from Toko­roa, was killed in a heli­copter crash near the Lindis Pass.

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