A Victorian MP has paid tribute to his best mate, tragically killed in a helicopter crash in the NSW Southern Highlands.
Newly elected local councillor and businessman, Andrew Goldman, died in the chopper crash near Marulan late on Wednesday.
Mr Goldman, who ran a successful family-based earth moving and civil construction business from his base at Burramine near Yarrawonga, Victoria, was on a training flight with an instructor, who also died in the accident.
The 54-year-old Mr Goldman was also less than a month into being a Moira councillor following the recent elections.
"Goldy was my best mate," Victorian Ovens Valley MP Tim McCurdy said.
"I am absolutely shocked and devastated by this tragic news. My priority is supporting his family as they deal with this heartbreak.
"He was a fantastic bloke, who was highly respected in the local community, having just been elected to Moira Shire.
"He always put local communities front and centre.
"We have lost a local hero."
The cause of the crash is unknown.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau is investigating together with NSW Police, who will prepare a brief for the Coroner.
"On site, investigators will examine the helicopter wreckage and site surround," the ATSB statement said.
"The ATSB will also analyse available recorded data review records and interview involved parties."
The helicopter took off from Goulburn about 3pm and rescue teams were alerted when it failed to return about three hours later.
A rescue helicopter located the crash site south-east of Marulan about 8pm, but due to weather conditions in the area the rescue crew couldn't land which led to police to enter bushland on foot.
They reached the crash site about 12.30am on Thursday.
A team of transport safety investigators from the ATSB's Canberra office with expertise in aircraft engineering, operations and maintenance, data analysis and recovery, and human factors, was deploying to the accident site yesterday.
The 36-year-old instructor is believed to be from Goulburn.
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Moira Shire mayor Libro Mustica and chief executive Mark Henderson issued a statement confirming Mr Goldman's death.
"Moira Shire Council is devastated to learn of the tragic death of Cr Andrew Goldman overnight," they said.
"Cr Goldman was elected as a councillor for the 2020-24 term and was looking forward to contributing to the improvement and growth of our shire.
"On behalf of councillors and staff we extend our thoughts to his family at this difficult time.
"He will be greatly missed."
Mr Goldman attended his first council meeting a week ago.
His position on council will be the subject of a countback of results from the recent election to be conducted by the Victorian Electoral Commission.
Mr Goldman also worked on many major projects for neighbouring Federation Council.
"The thoughts and prayers and deepest sympathy of all at Federation Council are extended to Andrew's family at this shocking time," Federation general manager Adrian Butler said.
"Andrew was a major contractor for council over the years and right across the region on both sides of the Murray River.
"Andrew's company is also a very generous contributor to sporting and other community groups and he will be immensely missed."
Mr Goldman has lived in the Moira Shire for almost 50 years and is survived by wife Tania and children Trent, Latecia and Shaun.