Three people have survived a helicopter crash in Westland National Park this morning.

Police were alerted about 10.35am that the helicopter had left Franz Josef to uplift two hunters nearby the Poerua Glacier was overdue.

A spokeswoman for the Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand said a pilot and two hunters were injured during the crash at take-off.

The helicopter was located about 11.30am, and the trio were rescued about midday.


The pilot, who was trapped in the cockpit, was seriously injured and was airlifted to Christchurch Hospital.

The two hunters suffered minor injuries and were taken by ambulance to Greymouth Hospital.

The spokeswoman said the RCCNZ responded to two distress beacon activations, and notification from the commercial company that its Hughes 369 helicopter was overdue and should have returned at 9.30am.

"As the RCCNZ was arranging for the Garden City Rescue helicopter from Greymouth to fly to the site it received information from the company about the problem at take-off and that three men were injured," the spokeswoman said.

"Another company helicopter had been flown to the glacier to check the situation and was able to pass on information about what had happened on the ground."