The pilot of the plane which crashed in to high voltage power lines on Monday morning has been described as an aviation enthusiast and a highly skilled operator.

Farmers Air pilot George Anderson died at the scene along with a ground crew member, who has not yet been named, in the rural area of Hangaroa.

Inspector Sam Aberahama said the bodies of the men had been removed and were now undergoing post-mortem examinations in Palmerston North.

Farmers Air director Andrew Hogarth said Mr Anderson was a dear friend and an experienced pilot who he had also worked with overseas.


The ground crew member had been with the company only two months but Mr Hogarth said he was a valued member of the team who would be sorely missed.

Mr Hogarth offered his deepest condolences to the loved ones of those killed.

"We are doing all we can to support them during this extraordinarily difficult time."

"The crew at Farmers Air was tight-knit and all staff knew the families of the dead colleagues well."

The plane was spreading fertiliser on Tongataha Station when it crashed into 110kv power lines and put Gisborne in the dark.

Eastland Network managed to get power back to the 40,000 people affected from 5.30pm yesterday.

Eastland Network general manager Brent Stewart said the circuits suffered extreme damage after the plane crashed into an 800-metre span of the lines between Tuai and Gisborne.

"To complete the repairs and ensure ongoing security of supply, we will need to interrupt the electricity supply again. We're currently working through plans to determine when this will happen and how long the outage will be when it does."


Mr Stewart said this announcement would come today.

Tairawhiti Civil Defence was kept busy throughout the two days delivering generators to food outlets, service stations and some rest homes ensuring people were able to get food and fuel.

Many commercial outlets had their own generators operating and several food outlets operated on gas.

Police put on extra staff and increased patrols throughout the outage to deter a spike in crime.

A police representative said they were impressed with the way most of the community came together.

"Unfortunately, there will always be some people who attempt to exploit situations such as this for their own gain and in the previous 24 hours Gisborne has experienced three burglaries, one of which targeted cigarettes."