Wirestrike Accident Robinson R22 Beta ZK-HXT, Saturday 10 January 2004
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Date:Saturday 10 January 2004
Type:Silhouette image of generic R22 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Robinson R22 Beta
Registration: ZK-HXT
MSN: 3060
Year of manufacture:2000
Fatalities:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:Rotokawa, Taupo -   New Zealand
Phase: En route
Departure airport:Taupo Airport North Island, New Zealand (TUO/NZAP)
Destination airport:Te Puke, Bay of Plenty
Investigating agency: CAA NZ
Confidence Rating: Information verified through data from accident investigation authorities
The helicopter, with its two occupants, departed Taupo airport after refueling, and initially flew along the Taupo lake front, then overhead the Taupo race course, and then departed the township towards the north east. Recorded radio transmissions suggested a flight to Te Puke was intended. Both the pilot and his passenger had various appointments later that afternoon, and when these were not kept, the alarm was raised later that evening.

As no flight plan, detailed intentions, or witness sightings were available, an extensive aerial search by helicopters was necessary between Taupo and Te Puke. This proved challenging, given the large geographical area, and many heavily forested areas to be searched. The search was complicated by the area having a lot of daily helicopter traffic, so a number of unrelated helicopter sightings had to be investigated. The wreckage was eventually discovered in the
vicinity of high voltage power line pylons, by a truck driver, 12 km north east of Taupo near Lake Rotokawa.

Some days later, a group of youths who had been swimming in the nearby Waikato River, came forward with a description of loud 'banging and whacking sounds' that they attributed to a helicopter noise, which had ceased suddenly.

Although they never sighted the helicopter, given the close proximity to the accident site, which was blocked from their view by a stand of pine trees, it is highly probable that they heard the accident. This indicates that the accident occurred at about 11:30 hours on 10 January, when the helicopter was outbound from Taupo airport and only about 15 minutes into the flight.

The late notification was due to the youths being on holiday, not listening to the news, and therefore being unaware of the search. The accident occurred in daylight, at approximately 11:30 hours, near Taupo, at an elevation of 1,170 feet. Latitude: 37°14.4' S, longitude: 175°14.1'E.

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: CAA NZ
Report number: 
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 3 years and 4 months
Download report: Final report


1. https://www.caa.govt.nz/Accidents_and_Incidents/Accident_Reports/ZK-HXT_Fatal.pdf.
2. https://www.pprune.org/rotorheads/114874-nz-another-helicopter-missing.html
3. http://www.rotorspot.nl/product/r22.php

Revision history:

04-Nov-2008 10:35 ASN archive Added
06-Sep-2016 12:47 Dr.John Smith Updated [Cn, Operator, Location, Phase, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
19-May-2018 02:59 Ron Averes Updated [Location]

Corrections or additions? ... Edit this accident description

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