Saturday, November 28, 2009

Erebus, 30 Years On...

Erebus crash site, 1979On November 28, 1979, an Air New Zealand DC10 sightseeing jet flew straight into the side of the world's southernmost active volcano, the 3794m-high Mt Erebus in Antarctica, instantly killing all 257 aboard.
It was said at the time that every single person in NZ either knew a victim or knew someone who did: in other words, in such a small country, we were all touched somehow by Erebus and its aftermath. Thirty years later, there's an entire generation to whom Erebus possibly means little...but for others the disaster, the rumoured cover-up, the blaming and the classic line "an orchestrated litany of lies" have left an indelible mark.
tail section at Erebus, 1979So much was written, debated, confused and jumbled about in the years following the crash and the enquiry, that many may still not have a clear understanding of it, but the Dominion Post's 2008 article seems to have put all the ducks in a line quite well. The NZ Air Line Pilots Assn also has a comprehensive site, worth reading.
Air New Zealand recently apologised to victims' families for the manner in which the enquiry was handled, with a sincere hope that today, on the 30th anniversary of the disaster, they and the country can gain closure.
Erebus crash site, 1979

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