Wanaka: Warbirds Over Wanaka has joined others in the tight-knit Warbirds community in expressing their deep sorrow at the loss of the three men in yesterday’s helicopter crash near Wanaka Airport, including Nick Wallis, a son of airshow founder Sir Tim Wallis.
Warbirds Over Wanaka Community Trust Chairman, John Gilks, says the loss has been devastating for the whole Wanaka community, especially coming so soon after Nick’s brother Matt died in a helicopter crash in July.
“Our hearts go out to Sir Tim and Prue. This is the most unbelievable tragedy for them and the rest of the respected local family. They’re such a well-known family and they have contributed so much to Wanaka and this region over the years, starting with Sir Tim and followed on by his four sons.”
John says compounding the loss of Nick is the deaths of two respected Department of Conservation workers in the crash. “This is impacting on the whole Wanaka community and further afield,” says John.
Warbirds Over Wanaka General Manager, Ed Taylor, says while the Wallis family have not been involved in the day-to-day running of the airshow for a number of years now they are still very supportive of the event started by Sir Tim 30 years ago.
“Since yesterday’s accident I have fielded a number of calls from people in the Warbirds community around the country. Everyone is just stunned at Nick’s death. Nick was a great guy to work with and he helped plan and execute one of the helicopter displays at the Warbirds airshow earlier this year. Nothing was a problem,” says Ed.