Franz Josef community rallies in support of family of man involved in plane crash

More than $40,000 was raised for the whānau of a Franz Josef man involved in a plane crash while they await the delayed salvage operation.

Franz Josef businessman Tim Gibb, whose light aircraft crashed near Mount Nicholson in the Southern Alps last week.
Photo: Sharon Brettkelly

The sole occupant of the light aircraft, Tim Gibb, failed to make it to Rangiora last Thursday morning.

A Westpac rescue team located the plane near Mount Nicholson in the Southern Alps that afternoon, but were unable to reach the crash site due to poor weather conditions.

Police have since taken over the operation and said persistent inclement weather meant it would not happen until the end of this week at the earliest.

Rescue pilot Stuart Farquhar said when the plane was located last Thursday it was “crushed” and there was no sign of life.

One of Gibb’s two daughters was in Croatia when she learned of the crash and some of the funds raised are set to help cover the cost of her trip home.

Honors at Givealittle from friends and community groups validated all of Gibb’s contributions to the community as Assistant Firefighter and Civil Defense Controller.

Jamie Norton said he was known across the West Coast for his generosity.

“Words cannot describe the absolute tragedy of this accident and what a huge hole Tim left in the Gibb and Franz Josef family and area,” he said.

Gibb was someone you could always count on when you needed something, Norton said, “no matter the time of day or night.”

Further afield, Christchurch Girls’ High School thanked Gibb for hosting groups of geography students each year.

“He always took his time and laughed a lot. We will miss his presence on our annual visits,” a spokesman said.

“Your Franz Josef family is with you all,” said another donor.

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