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New Zealand blocks NH-90 helicopters

The stop after a fatal plane crash occurred at sea

An NHIndustries MRH-90 Taipan military helicopter has crashed off the north coast of Queensland during the international exercise 'Talisman Sabre'. Following this incident, the top management of the Royal New Zealand Air Force grounded all aircraft of this model in the fleet, for precautionary reasons.

"Although the Air Force currently has no reason to believe that our NH-90 helicopters are unsafe to fly, as a precautionary approach we have decided to suspend flights for 48 hours to conduct a risk assessment. At the end of this period, we will make a decision whether to resume flying or not", said Air Force Chief Deputy Marshal Andrew Clark.

The Royal New Zealand Air Force has eight helicopters in its fleet stationed at the Ohakea military base. Three of these were engaged in the "Talisman Saber" exercise but were not involved in the fatal accident that occurred last Friday. Four members of the army lost their lives: Captain Danniel Lyon Lieutenant Maxwell Nugent, Marshal Joseph Laycock and Corporal Alexander Naggs.

Gic - 1252979

AVIONEWS - World Aeronautical Press Agency