Source acquired via New Zealand Herald News, May 27, 2010, New Zealand – In 2005, Michael Erceg’s private helicopter crashed. Fifteen days later, rescue workers were able to find Erceg’s body, but only after his family and friends had spent thousands of dollars searching for it. Today, a Hamilton, New Zealand, coroner, Gordon Matenga, is hoping to convince New Zealand’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) that GPS trackers can help with airplane crashes.
While Matenga acknowledges that fact that nothing could have prevented Erceg’s plane from going down, he does believe that GPS tracking would have helped authorities find Erceg’s body quickly. Michael Erceg happened to be a wealthy liquor tycoon, which is the main reason why his friends and family could spend $815,000 scouring the woods for his body. Contrastingly, many people who die in plane or helicopter crashes are never found simply due to the fact that searching for a body is an expensive endeavour.
GPS tracking devices have the ability to record altitude, position, and direction continuously. Such information would have allowed rescue workers to pinpoint Erceg’s exact location at the time of the crash. In response to Mantenga’s position on GPS trackers, CAA spokesperson Bill Sommer told press that the association is currently negotiating with various GPS manufacturers. No word as to whether or not GPS tracking devices must be installed on all aircraft will become part of New Zealand law within the near future.
Presently, Michael Erceg’s widow, Lynne Erceg, is assisting people who own registered New Zealand aircraft with the costs associated with setting up a GPS tracking system. Although a GPS tracker cannot prevent death caused by a plane or helicopter crash, these devices may help crash survivors live longer if rescue crews can reach them in time. While Matenga is pushing the use of GPS trackers in New Zealand, these devices would benefit anyone who flies a personal plane or helicopter anywhere in the world.