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PM Key quits Gulf trade mission after fatal helicopter tragedy

Prime Minister John Key is returning to New Zealand immediately after the Anzac Day services at Gallipoli, Turkey, in the wake of the death of three Air Force servicemen in a military helicopter crash north of Wellington.
After Gallipoli, Mr Key was to h

Nevil Gibson
Sun, 25 Apr 2010

Prime Minister John Key is returning to New Zealand immediately after the Anzac Day services at Gallipoli, Turkey, in the wake of the death of three Air Force servicemen in a military helicopter crash north of Wellington.

After Gallipoli, Mr Key was to have had meetings in the Turkish capital, Ankara, and speak at a business breakfast in Istanbul.

He was to then travel on to Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates to join an important Middle East trade mission.

The mission, headed by Trade Minister Tim Groser, has 90 business members representing about 60 companies, and is the biggest such delegation to have visited the Gulf.

The mission will also visit Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, inspect Fonterra's operation and pursue further steps toward a free trade agreement with the Gulf’s Arab countries, which also include Oman.

The region is New Zealand's sixth largest export market.

Instead, Mr Key will attend the funeral of three of the four crew in the Iriquois helicopter that crashed at Pukerua Bay before dawn – Flight Lieutenant Hayden Madsen, 33, Corporal Benjamin Carson, 25, and Flying Officer Daniel Gregory, 28.

The helicopter was on its way with two others from Ohakea Air Base to Anzac Day services in the capital, TVNZ reported. An unnamed fourth crew member is in Wellington Hospital with serious chest and leg injuries.

Mr Key expressed his shock and sorrow after hearing about the crash, according to a media statement issued from Gallipoli.

"I am shocked and saddened by this tragic event. My thoughts are with the families of the victims, the family of the injured man, and the entire New Zealand Defence Force,” he said.

"To have this happen when the helicopter was heading to Wellington for an Anzac Day flypast is an absolute tragedy.

"I am sure that all New Zealanders will join with me in offering the families of the victims, and the Defence Force, our deepest condolences."
 

Nevil Gibson
Sun, 25 Apr 2010
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PM Key quits Gulf trade mission after fatal helicopter tragedy
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