New Zealand police: 7 believed dead in helicopter crash

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — All seven people aboard a helicopter that crashed Saturday on a scenic glacier in New Zeland are believed to have been killed, police said.

The wreckage of a helicopter was located inside a crevasse on Fox Glacier, but rescuers were unable to reach it due to the difficult terrain, police said in a statement. They said that the pilot and six passengers are believed dead.

The helicopter crashed at about 11 a.m. on the glacier, a popular tourist destination on New Zealand’s South Island.

Rescue teams reached the scene Saturday afternoon, but said crevasses and rugged terrain were hampering their efforts.

A rescue helicopter used a winch to lower a paramedic and an alpine rescue team to the vicinity of the crash, said Vince Cholewa, a spokesman for Maritime New Zealand. He said the area where the helicopter crashed was filled with crevasses and treacherous terrain.

He said there was low cloud in the area, but otherwise the rescuers had not reported being hampered by the weather.

Cholewa said it was a commercial helicopter that crashed, but he didn’t have details yet on whether the passengers were tourists.

Tourism companies regularly fly visitors onto the popular glacier so they can view it up close.

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