This Site is dedicated to all those families of the people that have tragically disappeared on flights in and around New Zealand. I  only hope that from all the effort in building this site and from all the effort of those taking part in this venture, that it will bear fruit in bringing ‘closure’ to their memories!
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Update 22 April 2019

Many thanks to Simon Causer for his article here and for the time he has spent looking for NZ5517....

Report on April 2019 search for NZ5517 by Simon Causer

Of all the missing aircraft in NZ it is the tale of Brian Barstow and NZ5517 that has always intrigued me the most. I think this is mainly because of my family connections to the RNZAF (my father was ex Raf, and a RNZAF Flight Lieutenant based at Ohakea in the early 80’s), and the likely closeness of the crash site to where I live (Hororata). A review of the available literature led me to favour a likely resting place of NZ5517 somewhere in a 10km radius of the headwaters of Haggard Creek/Mt Galileo – and it was that area I wanted to target in particular. My quest had two false starts - in April 2017 and 2018 – when a colleague and I sat in Reefton for 3 days apiece waiting for weather to clear sufficiently for us to fly in. It never happened. Our plan had been simple: 1) fly into the Mt Galileo tops during the peak of the roar, chase roaring stags through the bush, and during the course of these hunts inadvertently stumble upon the wreckage of NZ5517.

But there was to be no Paparoas hunt those years. I had to content myself with visits to three known wrecks – all in the North island – those of NZ3031 (P40, Wainuiomata), NZ414 (Avro Anson, Mt Taranaki) and NZ277 (Airspeed Oxford, Mt Taranaki).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

However, the weather gods were to smile on me in 2019, and with an unheard of West Coast forecast of 10 days of pure sunshine, on Sat 13 I flew in with local helicopter operator Alan Rosanowski and set up a base camp next to some nice tarns on the western slopes of Mt Galileo, just below point 1230. Over the next 5 days I carried out an extensive search of all of the tops above the true left of Haggard creek and the upper basin of the Ohikanui River. The only point I didn’t get to was Pt 1078 NNW of Galileo. I overnighted in the headwaters of Haggard creek, at Point 991 NW of the summit of Galileo, and at the tarns immediately due west of the Galileo summit (Point 1029) on the true right of Bartrum Stream. Travel to each of these areas was relatively easy across the tops, although if the bush had to be penetrated (which it did even along portions of the main ridgeline, the pace slowed to a crawl- literally). The impenetrable nature of the bush in this area cannot be understated. I am a veteran of dozens of Fiordland hunts – and I would take Fiordland bush any day to the bush in the Paparoas.

At no stage did I detect any sign of NZ5517, nor did I hear a single stag roar (other than the ones going nuts on Alan’s farm), nor did I see a single wallow or a single antler rubbing. Animal numbers are very low in the area – with only occasional tracks seen, and a single pile of deer pooh in the 5 days I was in the region. I spooked just one deer in the bush near point 991.

 

 

 

 

 

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