The site of the helicopter crash at Hardy Reef.
The site of the helicopter crash at Hardy Reef. Contributed

Ex-Cyclone Iris hampers crashed helicopter recovery

THE INVESTIGATION into a fatal helicopter crash in the Whitsundays has stalled as efforts to recover the aircraft are hampered by bad weather.

American couple Pete and Sue Hensel were killed when the helicopter they were in smashed into waters near the Hardy Reef pontoon on March 21.

Ms Hensel's daughter and her partner survived the crash, as did the pilot.

The Whitsunday Air Services Eurocopter EC120B sunk to the bottom.

A Queensland Police spokeswoman said efforts to recover the helicopter have been hampered by ex-Tropical Cyclone Iris.

She said the recovery process is complex and efforts must be made to ensure no crucial evidence is lost when the helicopter is resurfaced.

There is no time frame as to when this will occur.

Police and the Australian Transport Safety Bureau are investigating.

The investigation will centre on whether human error, mechanical failure or weather contributed to the crash.

An ATSB preliminary report is due to be released in late April.