Briton killed in New Zealand plane crash named

Joe Sinclair,Pa
Sunday 23 October 2011 06:03

A British tourist killed after a skydiving plane crashed in a ball of flames in New Zealand has been named.

Brad Coker, 24, from Farnborough, Hampshire, was among nine people who died when the light aircraft crashed at the end of the runway at Fox Glacier Airport on South Island, New Zealand Police said.

The other dead included 26-year-old Patrick Byrne, an Irishman from County Wexford, the pilot and four skydiving instructors, all from New Zealand. There were also tourists from Germany and Australia.

The aircraft was almost destroyed in the accident which took place at 1.15pm local time on Friday.

One resident told the New Zealand Herald: "It was like a fireball and then there was big puffs of smoke going up... (The plane) was engulfed in flames immediately.

"No-one could have survived that."

Mr Coker's friend, Jessica Boutcher, from London, posted a message on social networking site Facebook which read: "(I don't) know what to say, so much love to your family and friends. You were living life to the max and were taken doing the crazy things you loved. R.I.P. mate, sleep well xxx."

A Foreign Office spokesman said: "We have been offering consular assistance to his family to help them get through this extremely difficult time."

It is believed the plane was taking the foreigners up to take part in a tandem skydive.

Police said the aircraft was a Fletcher fixed-wing plane, which is popular for skydiving and scenic flights over the well-known adventure sports area.

Fox Glacier is a popular tourist spot in New Zealand's Southern Alps, about 90 miles from Christchurch.

The fatal crash was the third in the region in the past 17 years.

In 1994 seven people were killed in a helicopter crash in the mountains near the glacier.

And the year before nine people died in a plane crash at nearby Franz Josef Glacier.

Police named the New Zealand victims as pilot Chaminda Senadhira, 33, from Queenstown, and dive masters Adam Bennett, 47, from Motueka, Michael Suter, 32, from New Plymouth, Christopher McDonald, 62, from Mapua and Rodney Miller, 55, from Greymouth.

The remaining victims were tourists Glenn Bourke, 18, from Coburg, Victoria, Australia, and Annita Kirsten, 23, from Germany.

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