An inquiry has been launched into a helicopter crash in the town of Karamea in the Buller District that left the pilot seriously injuries.
Police, firefighters and paramedics rushed to the Last Resort hotel and lodge after the crash at the helipad of the resort shortly before 4pm on January 2.
Initial indications are that the pilot - identified by Stuff as Karamea businessman Tony Ibbotson - was the only person on board the helicopter at the time of the crash, NZ police confirmed.
Ibbotson was reported to be conscious and breathing but with serious injuries.
His son, Cory Ibbotson, told Stuff he was with his father in ICU and that "they are just working out how to help him the best way".
"He's in a good place."
He declined to comment on the accident.
The Transport Accident Investigation Commission (TAIC) has tonight launched an inquiry into the accident and placed a protection order on the Lake Resort wreckage site, restricting access to protect evidence.
A St John ambulance spokesperson confirmed they sent a rescue helicopter and two ambulances to the scene.
The pilot was airlifted to Nelson Hospital in a serious condition.
TAIC is seeking witnesses to the crash itself or just the helicopter in flight prior to the crash. Witnesses can give their account in an online form at www.taic.org.nz/contact-us
"We're interested in what locals and holidaymakers may have seen or heard or seen, and we're particularly keen to receive photographs or videos," TAIC chief investigator Harald Hendel said.
"The circumstances reported to TAIC were that the Robinson R22 helicopter was approaching to land when it experienced difficulties, pitched [tipped] down and impacted the ground hard in a paddock adjoining the Arapito River."
A TAIC investigation team of two will travel to Karamea on Monday.
"Over the next several days, TAIC's investigators will gather evidence about the accident scene, secure wreckage and electronic records such as photos, videos, and location data," Hendel said.
"Of course, we'll be looking at the helicopter wreckage, along with data about it and the history, performance, maintenance, design of this type of aircraft. The operating environment is always of interest, including physical, weather, operating company safety system, organisational culture of the operator, and regulatory matters."
A Fire and Emergency spokesperson confirmed to the Herald they responded to a helicopter crash at a helipad at the Last Resort hotel and lodge on Waverley St, Karamea.
The spokesperson said it was not yet known how serious the crash was and it may have just been a hard landing on the Last Resort helipad.
The town of Karamea has a population of about 300-400 people and has the Karamea Aerodrome which includes a helicopter charter business.
The crash will be reported to the Civil Aviation Authority.
More to come.