Houston couple injured in New Zealand plane crash

ALEXANDRA, New Zealand (KTRK) -- Two Houstonians are in a New Zealand hospital after their sightseeing flight crashed. The pilot of that flight was killed.

Their plane went down in the remote high country east of Alexandra. The two passengers, identified as Sarah and Eric Hoffman of Houston, Texas, were both rushed to the Dunedin Public Hospital in serious but stable condition. Both victims are in their 30s.

The pilot of the flight, veteran flyer Ray Crow, 56, died at the scene. His company released a statement saying Crow was an "experienced and careful pilot who had flown the route many many times."

The plane went down less than 3,000 feet from an airstrip. Investigators are now trying to determine if the pilot was trying to land there.

"we're not quite sure what the phase of flight was," said deputy chief investigator Peter Williams. "Its a relatively slow speed impact so its pretty much landed where you see it."

Investigators say weather conditions were clear and calm at the time of the crash, but they must work quickly in their investigation as heavy snow is forecast for the region on Thursday.
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