Four Britons believed dead in New Zealand helicopter crash

In this photo provided by New Zealand Police, the wreckage of a helicopter carrying tourists is seen crashed in a crevasse on Fox Glacier, a scenic glacier in South Island, New Zealand, Saturday, Nov. 21, 2015. All seven people, one pilot and six tourists, aboard the helicopter are believed to have been killed, police said. (New Zealand Police via AP)

In this photo provided by New Zealand Police, the wreckage of a helicopter carrying tourists is seen crashed in a crevasse on Fox Glacier, a scenic glacier in South Island, New Zealand, Saturday, Nov. 21, 2015. All seven people, one pilot and six tourists, aboard the helicopter are believed to have been killed, police said. (New Zealand Police via AP)

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Four Britons are believed to have been killed in a helicopter crash on a glacier in New Zealand, police said.

They were among six tourists who died along with the pilot of the aircraft which came down on the Fox Glacier, on the country’s South Island, officials said.

The helicopter came down and into a crevasse on Saturday morning local time and police said that recovery will take place on Sunday, local time.

A spokesman for the New Zealand Police said: “Police believe the passengers in today’s helicopter crash on Fox Glacier were six foreign tourists.

“It is believed two were Australians and four were from the United Kingdom. Formal identification of those people will take some time.

“Police have been liaising with the embassies of the countries concerned to ensure the next of kin are advised of the situation.”

The Rescue Co-ordination Centre New Zealand said it sent four rescue helicopters to the scene, on the west coast of the island, two from Christchurch, one from Greymouth and one based locally, the latter with a cliff rescue team on board.

Police said the crash site’s location meant rescuers had not been able to reach it.

The force spokesman added: “Police are currently planning for a recovery operation tomorrow and will update the situation in the morning.”

In September 2010 British web designer Bradley Coker, 24, died in a plane crash near the Fox Glacier, along with eight other people trying skydiving.

Mr Coker, from Farnborough, Hampshire, was on board a Walter Fletcher FU24 light aircraft operated by Skydive NZ. The aircraft took off and reached 400ft before the pilot appeared to lose control and the aircraft nosedived to the ground and burst into flames. All nine occupants were killed.

An accident report found the 30-year-old badly converted crop sprayer was overloaded and none of the passengers were wearing a seat belt, which was allowed under New Zealand regulations.

Alpine Adventures, which is based near the glacier, confirmed its helicopter was involved in the incident but a spokesman declined to comment further.

Its website says it has been in business for around 30 years and runs “an impressive fleet of modern turbine helicopters”.

The eight-mile (13km) glacier is the longest on the west coast of the South Island, travelling from the edge of the Mount Cook National Park in the Southern Alps towards the Tasman Sea coast.

The helicopter came down on the glacier, a popular spot with tourists, at around 11am on Saturday local time, which is midnight UK time.

Grey district mayor Tony Kokshoorn told the Associated Press weather was marginal at the time of the crash, with intermittent rain showers and low cloud.

“It was not ideal for helicopter flying,” he told them.