Head of radiotherapy at Addenbrooke’s Hospital named among New Zealand helicopter crash dead
- Credit: PA
The head of radiotherapy at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Katharine Walker, has been named as one of the victims of the New Zealand helicopter crash.
Ms Walker, 51, had worked at the Cambridge hospital for 23 years.
A spokesman for Cambridge University Hospitals, which runs it, said: “Everyone at the hospital is devastated by the news and our thoughts go out to Kath’s family at this very sad time.
“Kath was a much respected member of staff who had worked at Addenbrooke’s for 23 years and she led the trust’s radiotherapy services with great professionalism, skill and pride.
“We know many of our staff are going to be hit hard by this tragic news and we will be offering additional support for them.”
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Ms Walker’s partner, 50-year-old Andrew Virco, was also among the seven people killed when the sightseeing helicopter they were in crashed into the Fox Glacier on Saturday morning.
Britons Nigel Charlton, 66, and his wife Cynthia, 70, from Hampshire, have also been named as victims along with Australians Sovannmony Leang, 27, and Josephine Gibson, 29, and the Kiwi helicopter pilot Mitchell Gameren, 28.
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The bodies of three of the victims have now been recovered from the crash site and taken to a temporary mortuary facility nearby for formal identification, which New Zealand Police said may take a number of days.
But the recovery operation has been halted after weather at Fox Glacier deteriorated and it may be Wednesday before the others are recovered because it is expected to worsen during Monday and Tuesday. The helicopter which recovered the bodies was unable to land and had to winch them from the scene.
Operation commander Inspector John Canning said: “The site is near the top of the glacier, it’s all ice, it’s not level and there are blocks of ice as big as buildings with crevasses between them.
“There will be danger in getting teams into the area and traversing the area. While we’re determined to return these people to their families, this will be a complex and technical task with an emphasis on the safety of those involved.”
The Foreign Office said it was providing consular assistance to the British victims’ families “at this difficult time”.