News from NZ Police
The body of hunter James Dodds has been removed from the bush in the Waikite Valley near Rotorua.
Although flying conditions remained poor, a brief window in the weather allowed Search and Rescue staff and a rescue helicopter to winch the body out at 8.15 am this morning.
Staff involved described this as a difficult operation which took place in dense bush and steep terrain.
The body was flown to Rotorua Hospital and will be transported to Auckland later today where a post-mortem examination will be carried out.
“We have completed our scene examination, but our CIB staff still have a lot work ahead of them before the investigation can be completed” says Inspector Bruce Horne, Area Commander, Rotorua.
“The firearms involved and some other items will require forensic testing. Over the next few days we will be reviewing all of the evidence, including information from witnesses and the outcome of the post-mortem examination to reconstruct the event and develop a full understanding of what occurred.
“Our investigation will be thorough and will take some time. It is important to approach these cases with an open mind and make decisions based on the evidence. The police investigation will be help inform the coronial process.
“This case is an absolute tragedy and all of the families involved are suffering a most awful grief.
“However this case is also a harsh reminder of the critical importance of hunters ensuring they positively identify their target beyond any doubt before they shoot.”
News from NZ Police – Friday
The body of the hunter fatally shot south of Rotorua this morning is expected to remain in the bush overnight. Police reached the man’s body this afternoon in very steep, rugged terrain off the Te Kopia Road in the Waikete Valley.
It was hoped the body could be extracted by helicopter today but deterioating weather conditions and a lowering cloud base has ruled this out.
The wet, slippery conditions and coming darkness means it is unsafe to carry the body out today.
Police will be guarding the scene overnight and it is hoped the body will be brought out of the bush tomorrow.