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!
That evening I contacted Frank and had a long chat with him. He told me of his trips he had flown with Ryan that included one that he had introduced Ryan to the Whitcombe and Browning Passes and on that trip they had flown into Glenthorne Station.
I asked him if there was fuel that Ryan could obtain from Glenthorne in 1997 and he said that there was Mogas (Automobile Petrol) but no Avgas, and as he rightly said, “but he still could have flown over to West Melton with that” (to obtain Avgas).
You need to put yourself in Ryan’s situation. He had basically two choices:
1/ Fly west to Hokitika, (or some place like that) and possibly spend a cold night in the plane - it was after 5.00pm and everyone was likely to have gone home.
2/ Risk a ten + minute flight over cloud and spend the time with friendly faces and a warm bed.
Frank said Ryan would have been very well welcomed at Glenthorne.
I certainly know which one I would have chosen, so long as I knew I had enough fuel!
There was another sighting. This time a plume of smoke seen in the direction of Mt Tourlesse by a woman driving down Main Street in Oxford. I contacted her and found that she couldn’t remember the time that she saw it, but it was reported to RCC by the local policeman at 7.15 pm on the day of the disappearance, so we can only assume that it was before then. We can also assume that she had seen it on the way home, cooked tea, and then seen on TV News of the plane going missing, which means that the time she saw it was sometime before 6.00pm. She said the sky was clear and what made her take note was the way the plume of smoke went straight up vertically. I sent her a 3D Google Earth image of the mountain range that I took from Main Street, Oxford, with alphabetical letters along the ridge line (shown above).
She replied saying that she remembers it very clearly as about the letter “L”.
A vertical plume like this, to me, would mean two things - that it was a very intense hot fire and that there was little wind, or the wind was blowing directly towards her giving the appearance that the smoke was vertical.
I once saw a crashed plane burning, and my memory of it was that I was amazed at how intense the fire was, and how dense the smoke plume was that came from it.
I drew a line on Google Earth from Main Street, Oxford, across the marker to further south, and this is where it crossed with the NE directional hearing of the people at Lake Coleridge: