In living memory

“Three decades ago, New Zealand was a mass of tears. The country suffered its worst air tragedy ever when, on November 28, 1979, an Air New Zealand plane on a sightseeing flight over Antarctica slammed into Mount Erebus, killing all 257 on board. And given New Zealand’s 1970s population of just three million, it’s not surprising almost everyone knew someone who was on the Erebus flight, or at least knew someone who knew someone on the doomed jet. Two hundred Kiwis, 24 Japanese, 22 Americans, six Britons, two Canadians, one Australian, one French and one Swiss were dead. The national grieving was overwhelming but the extreme sadness was soon replaced with bitter anger as the country’s national carrier fumbled in its dealings with victims and the public. But after 30 years of hurt, the country has finally started to mend its Erebus wounds thanks to an apology from the airline many believed was very belated. At an October ceremony in Auckland, company boss Rob Fyfe admitted the carrier had made mistakes. ‘I can’t turn the clock back. I can’t undo what has been done, but as I look forward I’d like to take the next step on our journey by saying sorry.’ It was a huge step forward for the nation, which has not allowed a single tourist flight to Antarctica from New Zealand since the disaster. But recovery is still in baby steps.”


Tags: Air New Zealand  Antarctica  Brisbane Times (The)  Mount Erebus  Rob Fyfe  

In the Shadow of the Mt Erebus Disaster

In the Shadow of the Mt Erebus Disaster

It remains New Zealand’s worst peacetime disaster. On 28 November 1979, a sightseeing aircraft carrying 257 people crashed head-on into the side of a volcano in Antarctica. The tragedy of flight…