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Two feared dead in New Zealand helicopter crash

November 30, 2011
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WELLINGTON, New Zealand—A pilot and conservation worker are missing and feared dead after the helicopter they were flying to fight a fire crashed into the ocean off New Zealand's far north coast.

Northland police inspector Lou Alofa said the helicopter was located Thursday morning in about seven meters (23 feet) of water and that dive teams were on their way to the scene. He said the chopper went missing Wednesday night while fighting a large scrub fire in Matai Bay near Kaitaia.

Alofa said the fire broke out at about 7 p.m. Wednesday. Reports indicate the fire burned down at least two homes.

Department of Conservation spokesman Rory Newsam said a Northland staff member is missing and the agency was meeting Thursday with the family of the worker.

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