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!
Gavin Grimmer
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Using the photo overlaid on Google Earth, I'm able to measure the distance from tip to tip of the "wing" as being in the region of 36 feet and the fuselage as around 21 feet. The correct measurement of a Cessna 172K is 36'1" wingspan and 26'11" fuselage length.

If it is the Cessna 172, then as the tail is lower, then it is feasible that it could have been torn off.

There is another possibility for the 'shorter' fuselage and that it is up on it's nose due to a collapsed nose wheel assembly, which is a usual occurrence when a ‘tricycle’ undercarriaged aeroplane lands in rugged terrain.  There is also visible what may be the wing struts/undercarriage shown under the root of each "wing" which would be visible if it was up on it's nose.

Another reason why I originally discounted this object was the fact that it is so obvious, and with it being so obvious, then why has it not been seen before - especially from the helicopter search that was done over the area at the time of it's disappearance?

 

On reflecting on this, I think there are a couple of reasons this could have happened:

 

1/ As it is obviously in a swamp, then it could have "buried" itself as it came to a halt putting mud etc. all over it, camouflaging it, and in the intervening 18 months when the photo was taken, the rain has washed the wing area clean again.

 

2/ At the time they disappeared (30th July) it was mid winter and the swamp level probably was at it's highest. When the photo was taken (17th Feb) it was mid summer and the swamp level was at it's lowest - maybe it was even in drought at that time?

 

For this aircraft to be so intact would mean that it didn’t go in at high speed and so would indicate that it was there due to a controlled force landing.

Given the conditions reported there on the day, “was misty, and drizzling, the type that just hangs around as there was no wind to blow it away”, then due to the high water content in the saturated air, carburetor icing would have been very likely, and if it was left undetected for a while, it would build up to a stage where there was no option but to force land. Carburetor icing is a well known cause for many forced landings.

 

The location of this apparent aeroplane also helps to confirm this possibility as if you had to force land and only had two options - go into a huge tree canopy - or into a swamp .... which one would you choose? I know which one I’d go for!

 

I am currently having this spot checked out by a helicopter operator in that area.....

 

It is interesting in that the more you zoom in on this object, the more blurry it gets, but the more you can see!

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