The fact that a plane was heard in this general area, makes the sighting of a shiny object up in the bush in “The Forks” area, a possibility, although there was the woman at Okarito who heard an aeroplane, and seconds later, a crash noise - and she thought it came from the direction of Three Mile Beach.
Unfortunately this woman has passed on, so we will now never know the finer details of what she heard, and seeing as the area south of Okarito is very dense bush and scrub, it is always possible that it is instead in this area.
Generally with the pilot flying the aircraft from the left hand seat, when given a choice will turn to the left due to the better visibility of the ground, so any orbits carried out in this area were most likely in that direction.
They would have been looking for an opening to get down to the water line on the beach as there is less obstacles to run into when flying just out to sea, following the coastline.
On a day where fog (low lying cloud) and mist are right down to the ground, means that there is very little wind (if any) and the air is fully saturated with water vapour. If there is a hotter surface to heat the air, this air will rise and create a clear spot. This often happens over a still body of water as the water retains heat longer than the surrounding areas.
There is two such bodies of water in the area south of Okarito - one at Alpine Lake where the observer north of Lake Mapourika heard the plane, and another less than 1½ n.miles away from Okarito called 3 Mile Lagoon. It is at the northern end of 3 Mile Beach - the direction of where she heard the crash. It is possible that if you saw this Lagoon in a hole down through the murk, that you could mistake it for the southern end of Okarito Lagoon.
that they could tell him what the weather was like below the cloud.
When he was about over the coast, he descended down through the cloud only to find there was another layer below that, and to find there was no obvious escape route from this lower level. Trapped within this enclosure, he happened across Alpine Lake which he could see from his position above this layer. As Alpine Lake is 300 ft asl, he could see that the cloud went right to the ground - no way out of there!
As he continued round in a left handed orbit, he saw Three Mile Lagoon and noticed it exited to the sea.
He continued in this orbit studying his map, coming to the wrong conclusion that this water outlet was the outlet of the Okarito Lagoon - just 1 ½ n.miles further up the coast (1 ½ n.miles distance is nothing in aviation terms).
Flying back over Alpine Lake, he was now positioning himself to descend through the hole keeping what he could see of “Okarito Lagoon” in view on his left. If he had been where he thought he was, then there was nothing to collide with, but with it being instead Three Mile Lagoon, there is a 500 ft high hill in front of him!
It is of course possible that he did realise it was Three Mile Lagoon, but couldn’t tell from his map that there was a hill there!
Remember, all this is only a theory, but at the same time a very feasible one. It fits in with both observer’s observations.
If ever I get the chance to do a ground search for ZK-CSS, this would be the area I would concentrate on. I could be wrong....who knows?
With all this (although limited) information from the observations in this area, there is still a possible scenario we can build.
Roy was known in the past to have flown out to the coast above cloud and then descend down through the cloud and continue along the coast to his destination.
So, knowing this, this is the best scenario that I can think of:
Roy came across the ranges above cloud. At a point just east of Lake Mapourika, he called Hokitika to ask for a current weather report and had hoped
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