The body of pilot Matt Wallis was found inside the wreckage of his helicopter, police say.
At a press conference in Wanaka this afternoon Detective Sergeant Derek Shaw confirmed the Wanaka man was found inside the helicopter which was found 47 metres below the surface of Lake Wanaka last night.
Shaw said about 30 people were involved in the recovery operation in the Stevensons Arm area of Lake Wanaka.
Shaw said a team made up of police, navy and coastguard worked together to locate the wreckage that had Wallis in it.
Wallis was removed from the wreckage before a line was attached to lift the wreckage out of the water, he said.
"It took a number of hours due to various difficulties. The weight of the machine and the depth that it came up from.
"Divers were working at night and using remotely operated vehicles that had their own light source so it was very achievable given their expertise and the equipment we were able to source from the New Zealand Defence Force."
TAIC air accident investigator Ian McClelland said the state of the wreckage showed the helicopter had hit the water from "some height", although noted the damage assessment had yet to be completed.
He said the stormy weather at the time would "certainly" be looked at as part of the inquiry.
Shaw said police were grateful to the many specialists and volunteers who provided invaluable support during the search for Wallis.
This had been referred to the Coroner and TAIC was now investigating, he said.
"Police cannot express enough how appreciative we are to the many people who assisted in the search, working long hours in cold conditions," Shaw said.
"We are fortunate in New Zealand to be able to draw upon a range of professionals who are dedicated to putting people first.
"Local Police, LandSAR, Coastguard, the Harbourmaster, the Rescue Coordination Centre, Police divers, and the Navy were among those involved."
Many people also offered their maritime and aviation services, he said.
"Police divers and the Navy hydrographic team showed true dedication out in the water.
"The combined efforts and the expertise was highly appreciated by police who led the search and recovery.
"I know the Wallis family are truly grateful to everyone for the work they have done since Saturday."
Wallis was well-known in the area and the "community will want to join us in giving the family the space they now deserve".
The body was retrieved about 10pm by the police national dive squad and Royal New Zealand Navy.
Some wreckage of the helicopter Wallis, 39, was flying when it crashed on Saturday was also recovered.
"This is the best possible outcome we could have hoped for in the circumstances, and we are glad to be able to bring some degree of closure to Matthew's family at this sad time,'' Detective Sergeant Derek Shaw said.
Wallis, the son of Sir Tim Wallis, is survived by 5-year-old son, Arthur, and wife, Alice.
- addtional reporting Otago Daily Times