The chopper burns after the pilot escaped.
The incident unfolded on Hawthornden Dr in Tikitere about 3.30pm today when the helicopter landed heavily in a paddock. Shortly after the pilot escaped, it burst into flames.
Jenny Stanley-Clarke, owner of Hobbits Hideaway on Hawthornden Dr said she heard the helicopter come down, but didn't see it. "It was very loud, I thought, 'gosh what the hell was happening?'"
Fire crews from Rotorua Airport, Rotorua Fire Brigade and Lake Okareka Rural Fire Force attended the scene. Rotorua Airport chief executive Nicole Brewer said she could confirm there had been a helicopter crash in an area outside the Rotorua Airport. She said a fire crew from the airport provided assistance at the scene. "No air services at Rotorua Airport have been impacted by the crash."
A Civil Aviation Authority spokesman said its Safety Investigation Unit was gathering information about the incident. Once all available information was reviewed a decision would be made to determine if a physical investigation and examination of the wreckage would be needed, he said. He said that decision was likely to be made in the next 48 hours.
Rotorua Fire Brigade senior station officer Colin Rolfe confirmed the pilot had safely escaped the chopper.