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Pair ’extremely lucky’ to walk away from crash

The aircraft crashed on Blairich Range south of Blenheim. - Photo: Nelson Marlborough Rescue Helicopter

The pilot who rescued a man and a child from a wrecked glider off the side of a mountain south of Blenheim yesterday afternoon says the pair are extremely lucky.

Barry McAuliffe said the glider's wing folded over causing it to spiral about 500 metres before hitting a steep slope in the Blairich Range and coming to rest.

The 61-year-old man, who is understood to own the glider, and a 12-year-old girl escaped the wreck, walked to the top of the hill and called for help.

Mr McAuliffe said the combined effect of the spiral and the steep mountain face minimised the severity of the impact.

"I couldn't tell you how it's happened, or why it's happened, it's certainly not common.

"You wouldn't expect anybody to walk away from any sort of an aircraft if that were to happen, extremely lucky, you'd certainly never imagine an outcome like that from a wing folding on an aircraft."

Mr McAuliffe said the pair were taken by the Nelson Marlborough rescue helicopter to Wairau Hospital with minor injuries.


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