The father of the pilot killed in a crash southwest of Gisborne yesterday - also an experienced pilot - ​knows firsthand the possible risks of flying.

He has been in two plane crashes and was lucky escape alive.

George Anderson was a third generation pilot and has been remembered as a very experienced pilot who loved to fly.

His body and that of another person were removed from rural Hangaroa yesterday afternoon, a police spokesman said.


"Their bodies have been taken to Palmerston North for forensic post mortem."

George Anderson's father, Peter, escaped serious injury when a plane he was flying crashed in 2001 when a sheep ran in front of his plane on hilltop about 40km south of Blenheim.

The plane's propeller hit the sheep and the plane tipped on to its nose before coming to rest upside down on the strip at Ward.

Anderson was saved by the roll cage of his Piper Pawnee, which stopped the cockpit caving in. He left the crash with only a sore back.

The Blenheim vet had crashed once before in his then-11 years as a pilot, the Herald reported at the time.

He spent time in Kaikoura Hospital's intensive care unit after a similar crash at Kekerengu, northeast of Kaikoura, in 1990 when his Piper Colt aircraft was upturned by a sudden gust of wind and tossed off a farm strip and into a tennis court.

At the time, Country Calendar was working on a documentary about the popular flying vet.

This morning Andserson said he was still too upset to speak to media about the death of his son.


Tributes for George Anderson were left on Facebook since news spread of his death, with people remembering the young father as a "lovely man".

"Had some very dear unforgettable times with this man and our tribe during early Kiosk days," wrote one woman.

"Gorgeous George we called him he was that and a whole hell of a lot more... my thoughts are with his family and friends .. an air kiss to you lovely man."

"He never took a backward step," wrote another. "An awesome guy and mate."

Comments under the post remembered Anderson as a role model and fun friend.