The body of missing pilot Damian Webster has been found alongside the wreckage of helicopter in Kahurangi National Park.

Mr Webster was flying from Karamea on the West Coast to Nelson, when his Robinson 44 helicopter disappeared on Tuesday.

The wreckage of the helicopter was found about 3pm today within the search area identified from its last known position.

Earlier today a helicopter identified what appeared to be a sheet of paper in the trees of Kahurangi National Park.


A crewman was winched down and was able to confirm the paper was linked to Mr Webster's missing helicopter.

The Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand (RCCNZ) has managed the search over the past four days, which involved up to five helicopters and six ground search and rescue teams.

RCCNZ search and rescue coordinator John Ashby praised the efforts of the searchers.

"This was an extremely challenging search, given the steep terrain and thick bush canopy, and it is a credit to the skills of the searchers that the wreckage has been found.

"Identifying a single piece of paper from the air is remarkable and that is what has led us to the crash site."

Mr Ashby also acknowledged family and friends of Mr Webster.

"This is obviously a very sad day for his loved ones and our thoughts are with them," he said.

Recovery of Mr Webster's body was being handled by police.


The Transport Accident Investigation Commission and the Civil Aviation Authority are both investigating the crash.