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  10th April 2012

 

I was contacted by a young lady who informed me that over last Christmas, her family in Whataroa had been sitting around talking when the subject of seeing a shiny metal object many years ago on the side of a hill, up in the bush, was talked about. She said if I was interested, please contact them.

It took me a little while, but I eventually made contact and spoke to this young ladies’ Grandfather.

He said that sometime probably between 1985 to 1995 (couldn’t remember for sure - just that it was a long time ago) they had noticed a shining object amongst the trees up on a ridge that they had not seen before.

He explained over the phone where they lived and I located it on Google Earth. He said that it was up in the hills from there.

I thought he meant the hills to the west of their position. That position was a few miles further north of where I believe CSS was last heard, and so there was a possibility that it could have been from that aircraft.

I suggested that maybe it was just sunlight reflecting off water on a rock, and he said that was unlikely as they were in a drought at the time.

He was not familiar with Google Earth, but his grand-daughter was, so he was going to get her to locate the spot on Google Earth and send me the co-ordinates.  I would pass the co-ordinates on to local helicopter operators.... I left it at that.

On the 9th February, on our way back to Christchurch from our ground search in the Jacobs River (for ZK-AFB) as I was driving through Whataroa, I remembered this conversation and the location of his house, so I turned the Van around and headed back to his house.

On arrival, he took me out the back of the house and pointed to a spot further south (not west) and explained where he had seen it.

Not being familiar with the layout of the terrain, I referred to a map to get my bearings and I was stunned to see that this spot that he had pointed out, was right in the area that the Turners (ZK-CSS) were last heard (circling)!

This area is known as “The Forks.”

I originally thought that this ‘circling’ was indicative of either going up (or down) through a hole in the cloud, or even just a method of biding time while either studying a map, or being indecisive of your next move.  But now it brings in another whole new possibility that I hadn’t thought of before.....circling down through the cloud - as Roy Turner was known to do!

We headed north to the Whataroa bridge where a person had been near to on the day. That person reported to me hearing a plane high above cloud, (he thought about 5500 to 7000 ft) come out of the Perth River and head across up the Whataroa Valley.

I took notice of the mountains to the south of the valley, mountains that this plane would have had to cross to get to ‘The Forks’ area, and saw what amounted to quite a distance.

Bearing in mind, that if this was Roy Turner and he was above this cloud, he possibly may have been in a strong SW head wind, and his ground speed would have been reduced considerably. Hence it would have been quite feasible, given that he was above cloud and not been able to see his actual position (only in relation to the position of the mountains), that he may quite conceivably have thought he was over the coast and “safe” to descend.

While I was in Fox, I learnt that Roy had friends out at Gillespies Beach, out at the coast from Fox. It is believed in Fox, that he was heading for their place (as he had before), and the procedure was that he would fly low over their house as a signal to let them know that he had arrived, and wanted a lift from the Fox airstrip out to their place.

With all this in mind, let’s now see if we can build a scenario, and do the calculations to see if ZK-CSS could have ended up at “The Forks”.

 

 Roy had pre-flighted  ZK-CSS, refuelled her, and spoken to other pilots for their local knowledge on the weather. One pilot advised that if he really wished to go, go now as the weather was about to deteriate from the southwest. At around 12.15 pm, he filed a Flight Plan with Timaru Flight Service via way of telephone and this is normally the last thing you do before a flight. This Flight Plan said his intention was to fly from Tekapo to Fox.

 

 

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