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!
This Directive was issued 21-08-1990, so this problem was not known about when ZK-BMP went missing.
There was a piece of blue vinyl found floating at Barn Bay and there was a claim that they were 99% sure it was from BMP. I seem to remember hearing about this piece of fabric and I remember that it was also proven that it also could have come from a Ford Falcon car as those vehicles also used the same fabric and colour. To place the whole outcome of the search on a small piece of fabric found on a beach seems like just taking the easy way out. How many missing aircraft have they excused from further searching as just saying, "We can't find them, so they must have crashed into the sea!"
There was an ELT beacon signal heard from an aircraft flying between Dunedin and Invercargill - but there was no mention of the outcome of any investigation into that, in these files.
I can fully understand Father Crosbie’s anxiousness at Big Bay of the situation he was in. He just wanted to get home, yet the fear of the unknown events that he could be confronted with due to the weather, makes you very indecisive.
He had tried twice to get through, but was forced back under duress of the weather.
The first attempt was to see if he could make it across the top of the cloud, but had wisely turned back as there was another layer of cloud above the first layer…a death trap as has been proven, unfortunately, far too many times since.
The second attempt was to see if he could make it through under the cloud, but also found that impossible.
The last attempt was made after seeking advice from another pilot, good advice in the circumstances – “head south where the weather was clearing and get a weather report from Milford Sound (Flight Service)”, but as you know, it was just a little late for this as Milford had retired for the night.
What happened from there is pure conjecture, but if I was in that situation, and the weather appeared better to the south, I would head for Wilmot Pass.
Maybe on the way there, he found that the upper layer of cloud ended and attempted to go over the top?
It appears that whatever happened, at some point he flew into moist air (cloud) as with moist air below freezing point, you can get ice on the airframe and in particular the above wing fuel tank breather, and as he did not have a lot of fuel in reserve, any loss of fuel would have spelt disaster. Father Crosbie had no way of knowing of this fault in the design, as it was not known, or at least, not made public until 12 years later – 1990.
I believe, based on all this, that if ever they are found, it will be somewhere south of Milford, quite likely east of Percy Saddle, or in the Takitimu Mountains / Takitumu Conservation Area. Both of these have highly dense bush areas where a plane could get ‘swallowed up’ by the vegetation.