Police in New Zealand, with the help of a local pilot, uncovered the wreck of a helicopter in rugged terrain, after having declared it missing for 8 years.The chopper was carrying 28-year-old British tourist Hannah Timings, the Belfast Telegraph writes. It was manned by 27-year-old resident pilot Campbell Montgomerie. Both the pilot and the passenger have been missing since 2004, when the Hughes 500 vanished.
The two bodies found on board are believed to be those of Montgomerie and Timings, however DNA testing is being performed to bring to light whether or not they belong to the missing traveler and pilot.
So far, it has been confirmed that the helicopter is, in fact, the Hughes 500 that vanished 8 years ago.
The wreckage was found in the Fiordland region, in a remote part of the country. At the time, local law enforcement had carried on a two-week search which rendered no results.
Another helicopter pilot spotted the wreck in close proximity to the area where the original search was conducted. Brendan Hiatt, a pilot with Glacier Southern Lakes Helicopters, was headed to Queenstown, with four American tourists on board, when he noticed it, covered in snow.
“I spotted something glinting that just didn’t look quite right amongst the snow, so I said ‘we’ll just take a look,’” he describes.
The Telegraph brings some context to Timings' story. The young woman from Cheltenham, Gloucestershire was on a six-month backpacking trip across New Zealand when she was declared missing. She worked as a project manager for Viscount Linley’s furniture business, in London.
The chopper disappeared in a mountainous area near South Island, losing contact with air traffic controllers in early January 2004. Her last radio message was sent not far from where the wreck was recovered, according to aviation investigator Gavin Grimmer, hired by the Timings family to locate the girl.