At 13.15 NZST on Saturday, September 4th, a Fletcher FU-24 turboprop, ZK-EUF, dived into the ground and burned shortly after take-off from Fox Glacier airstrip which is located on the west coast of New Zealand's South Island.. Killed were the pilot from Queensland, Australia, the four NZ dive-masters and their four tandem-jump clients who were visiting the popular scenic region, They were Patrick Byrne from Ireland, Glenn Burke from Australia, Annita Kirsten from Germany and Brad Coker from England. The operator, SkyDive NZ, has been operating for decades and has had a particularly good safety record using Cessna 185s. ZK-EUF has just recently been purchased by the company and underwent an extensive refit from being a piston-engined agricultural machine into a refurbished Part 135 specialist skydiving aircraft.
An eyewitness, who lives just 50 metres from the crash site said that the aircraft became airborne, climbed steeply and then veered towards his home before diving into the ground and burning. He ran to the aircraft but could do nothing due to the intensity of the fire. A team from CAA and the Transport Accident Investigation Commission is on site. This is the worst air accident in NZ for a very long time.