Salvage of the gyrocopter that landed in Tauranga Harbour on Sunday is uncertain at this stage according to one of the two men on board at the time.
Tony Unwin from Gyrate NZ Limited, a Tauranga based company that imports and sells gyrocopters, was on board the gyro that crashed into the harbour on Sunday afternoon.
Tony Unwin was on board the gyro that crashed into the Tauranga Harbour on Sunday.
He denied the gyrocopter “fell out of the sky” but conceded that it landed in the water.
“We were unfortunate that we happened to be over the water when this incident occurred,” says Tony.
Tony was reluctant to talk about the crash and what caused it.
“The press is probably not the place for it to come out,” says Tony.
Tony was one of two pilots on board the gyroplane that crashed into the water near the Tauranga Harbour entrance at about 4pm on June 17.
Both escaped from the gyroplane and swam to the surface before it sank, and were rescued by nearby boaties.
Trish and Grant Lewis were entering the harbour entrance on the launch Reel Hot when they saw the crash. Trish noticed the gyrocopter flying very low along the seaward side of Matakana Island.
She thought it was going to land on the island but instead “it just overshot it and crashed into the harbour” just inside Matakana Island.
“It just sunk; it went straight down,” says Trish.
“To see two people pop up was… quite amazing.”
The men were rescued from the water and ferried to Sulphur Point in an inflatable boat that was also on the scene.
Civil Aviation Authority communications advisor Emma Peel says the authority is waiting for the report from the pilot.
“When we have received that we’ll consider whether it’s quite clear what happened or if we will need an investigation to determine the cause,” says Emma.
“The wreckage, I think has been released back to the owner, that will be the insurers responsibility to decide whether to remove it or not.”
The Bay Of Plenty Regional Council says it is talking to the relevant parties, but its staff will not comment on whether salvage of the wreckage will be required.
The wreckage is not considered a navigation hazard.
“It may not be found,” says Tony.
“Boats have been lost in that harbour before. Aircraft have been lost in that harbour before.”