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Two dead after helicopter crashes in New Zealand Northland

Photo taken on Dec. 1, 2011 shows the fire at Karikari Beach in north New Zealand. A helicopter crashed on Thursday during a reconnaissance mission on fire situation. The pilot and a Department of Conservation officer on board were killed. The fire was under control. (Xinhua/SNPA/Malcolm Pullman)

WELLINGTON, Dec. 1 (Xinhua) -- Two people were killed after a helicopter helping tackle a big scrub fire in New Zealand`s Far North crashed on Wedesday night.

The wreckage of the helicopter has been found in sea. The helicopter disappeared while on a reconnaissance flight over a blaze in Maori-owned forest near Matai Bay on the Karikari Peninsula on Wednesday night.

Senior search and rescue officer Keith Allen told Radio New Zealand that a diver was sent into the water and found the wreckage about seven metres from the surface.

On Thrusday, two divers were sent to check inside the wrecakage and found the two dead people.

The two dead are the pilot and a passenger who is understood to have been working for the Department of Conservation.

Three homes have been destroyed as a fire rages in Northland.

Scores of firefighters were still battling the fire, which has ripped through a 60 hectare area. The fire has been brought under control on the southern side of the peninsula but continues to rage across the northern side.

Date:2011-12-1 21:10:11     
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