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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There was the reported (by Ned) cloud tops of 500 ft, and another 6/8 layer of Stratocumulus (Sc) clouds at 5000 ft at the time that Ned was leaving the Sound, and as the weather was deteriorating rapidly, I believe this layer became 8/8 (total cover) and lowered to at least 3500 ft.... in other words, Ned got himself between cloud layers. (This belief of the top cloud layer lowering on the coast is further backed up in the observation of Milford of Ned leaving the sound at about 2000 - 2500 ft - after entering it at 3500 ft).

Now this “between layers” may sound like no big deal, (although a very dangerous situation to be in) but in the days before GPS (which was the case in 1978) this would have made navigation in that area very difficult, if not impossible!

I will try to demonstrate this using images from Google Earth:

Image of just south of the Kaipo River Inlet looking north

Same Image with 500 ft “cloud” added. You now have lost the actual coastline to reference to on the map, but the mountain tops can still help give you a position.

Same image with another layer of “cloud” added, which makes navigation of your actual position very difficult.  

ZK-EBU Pg 4

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