I learned this morning of the death of three New Zealand Defence Force personnel in the crash of a Royal New Zealand Air Force Iroquois helicopter north of Wellington, and it has been a matter of great sadness and shock.
The helicopter, from Ohakea Air Force Base, was to have taken part in an ANZAC Day flypast over Wellington to mark the 95th anniversary of the Gallipoli landings in 1915.
It is in the nature of military service that defence personnel are often called upon to serve in adverse circumstances.
That this tragedy should occur on ANZAC Day when New Zealanders gather to remember those who have served and died in defence of our country is a bitter blow.
That deep sense of loss will be most keenly felt by the RNZAF, with whose Ohakea Base I have had a number of connections.
My wife Susan and I join with all New Zealanders in extending deepest condolences and sincerest sympathies to the families, friends and colleagues of those who died. Our thoughts are also with the fourth crew member, news of whose welfare we will await with concern and hope.
Hon Sir Anand Satyanand, GNZM, QSO
Governor-General and Commander-in-Chief of New Zealand
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