The rescue pilot prosecution

Stuff reports:

A campaign to “save Dave” has been launched in support of Kaikoura helicopter pilot Dave Armstrong, who is being prosecuted after flying to the rescue of an injured hunter.

Armstrong faces possible jail time because he was flying while suspended when he rescued Christchurch hunter Scott Lee and his girlfriend Lisa McKenzie from the remote Puhi Puhi Valley, north of Kaikoura, in April last year.

He is being prosecuted by the Civil Aviation Authority for three alleged breaches of the Civil Aviation Act, and is due to appear in the Kaikoura District Court on Friday.

He was not meant to be flying that day, because a medical scare had grounded him.

It is understood he flew as supervisor to the scene, but dropped off his less-experienced co-pilot and took the throttle himself in dark and cloudy conditions so he had room to deliver two rescue teams and a doctor. They walked the couple out.

Lee and McKenzie have written to the CAA pleading for mercy for Armstrong. …

He said the authority could have censured or warned Armstrong, but its decision to prosecute “alienated” the flying community.

“We believe that right-thinking New Zealanders would be affronted by it. We do not believe this is fair and we do not think it is just. This should not stand.”

I agree.  At the most he should have got a warning. But prosecuting him for helping save people’s lives is a very bad look.


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