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New Zealand Helicopter Crash Kills 5

March 28, 2000

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) _ A helicopter hit a power line and crashed on New Zealand’s South Island on Tuesday, killing five people, including four Americans, the Civil Aviation Authority said.

The Hughes 500 helicopter clipped a high power cable leading from a local power station near Lake Manapouri, 600 miles south of Wellington, Civil Aviation Authority communications officer Emma Peel said.

Three women and two men were killed in the crash, which left debris scattered along the lake shore, said Dunedin police spokeswoman Jo Galer.

She confirmed that four tourists aboard the helicopter were American but declined to release their names or any other personal details.

A police team was heading to the crash site to confirm the identities of the victims, Galer said.

The helicopter crashed while flying over the western arm of the lake, a picturesque area popular with tourists.

Fiordland Helicopters Ltd. manager Kim Hollows confirmed his company was involved. The pilot was a young woman from the southern New Zealand city of Queenstown, he said.

Hollows declined to give further information.

New Zealand’s Transport Accident Investigation Commission was investigating the crash.

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