A Civil Aviation Authority inquiry is under way this afternoon into a fatal helicopter crash in a forestry block near Gisborne this morning in which a 53-year-old local man died.

He was a passenger on board the Gisborne Helicopters Ltd machine that crashed at the bottom of a hill near a forestry skid site on the Paritu Road off State Highway 2 in the Wharerata Ranges.

The crash happened around 10am, and the victim was pronounced dead at the scene.

The pilot, aged 49, was flown to Gisborne Hospital by the ECT rescue helicopter and was admitted to the intensive care unit.


"He is in a stable condition," a hospital spokeswoman said.

Paramedics said the pilot had suffered multiple serious injuries.

"We treated him and then used a long-line to lift him out."

The body of the victim was to be recovered by helicopter this afternoon.

"A post-mortem examination will be conducted," police said.

The chopper was delivering supplies from one work site to another prior to a controlled burnoff on the property when the accident occurred.

Police have spoken to numerous witnesses.

The helicopter did not catch fire as a result of the crash.

"We will not be commenting on the cause of the accident," police said.

"It will be up to the CAA to determine how the accident happened and make comment."

Police will maintain a cordon around the crash site overnight as the inquiry continues.