With this new perspective in mind, on going over the “Official Search Records” recorded
in Richard Waugh’s excellent book “LOST ...without trace?” (page 190) I found that
my belief that they had been forced up into the cloud north of Haast, and came back
down through a hole into Jacobs River was incorrect... what I now believe happened
was Chadwick entered that valley as it was clear of cloud further in to it (would
have seen the sunlight shining on the ground in it from the coast) and climbed up
through this ‘hole’... not down as originally thought!
The two individual women in different houses at Hunt’s beach in Report 20 (Page 191) both reported a plane “cutting it’s engines on and off” and I initially thought this was Brian warming his engines in a descent, but it now becomes apparent that what they heard was the Dragonfly on full power radiating the noise each time it came around with the exhausts pointing towards them climbing in a spiral. On full power it would obviously make a lot more noise and be able to be heard much more clearly at a distance.
On revisiting Report 22 (Peter Polson – Jacobs River) I noted “sighted a blue and silver biplane over Jacobs River heading south west at an altitude of approx 2000ft”.
Peter Polson (nicknamed as “Frigger”) on his death bed claimed he was the last one to see the Dragonfly ZK-AFB as he said it flew into Jacobs River. According to what I was told, I gather Frigger was rather frustrated on this point as he had been telling everyone this from the day he saw it, up to the day he died, yet no-one would believe him.
I initially thought he must have seen it twice and he hadn’t told this to the Authorities – once heading south west, and later when it possibly came down through a hole in the cloud and then flew into the Jacobs (my initial theory).
Based on the knowledge and observations of eye witnesses often confusing east from west, I then applied a track to AFB of Frigger seeing it going south east and blow me down, it takes it directly into Jacobs River!!! So he did see it only once...
But then I remembered Tom Condon seeing it flying down the Paringa River (page 128
LOST – south of Jacobs River). If it was seen on the coast at Paringa further south
of Jacobs River, then it would be unlikely to have gone up Jacobs River in this scenario....
but according to that article, it was Keith Turner that recalled this in 2005. The
inference was that Tom most likely saw it further inland as Keith said that he flew
up to the Pass but saw nothing. Why would he fly into there if Tom had seen it further
out towards the sea?
The only record in the “Official Search Records” (Report 30) was of a Mr Condon hearing an aircraft in the Mahitahi River area – the next river south of Jacobs. However, there are quite a few Condon’s that live down there, so there is no way of knowing if this was Tom. My thoughts are that this is a different Condon. As you may know, it is now a proven fact that memories change rather rapidly... especially of an event that occurred at a time when there was no reason for a person to take note. My belief is that Tom saw the Dragonfly on an earlier flight and simply got confused with the day – something I have observed in eye witness acounts on other occasions.
From Jacobs River, working on the assumption that they climbed up over the top of the cloud, we then next have another “hearing” of a plane – (Report 28) a deer shooter on Mt Trent. Said the cloud base was 5000 ft and believed it to be above that cloud.
Next was Gordon Ferguson (Report 37) in the vicinity of the Lake Moeraki area, heard an aircraft flying high in the headwaters of the Moeraki River – he estimated as approximately 20 miles inland. He also observed that it couldn’t be a West Coast Airways Flight as he soon after heard it flying north well out to sea.
Then there was Mt Aspiring....
I initially discounted the sightings in this area as Report 42 was recorded that the time this aircraft was heard was at 11:30 and ZK-AFB could not possibly have got there at that time no matter whether it flew via the East Coast, or the West Coast. In this Report, it was heard by four people and of interest, it was heard “traveling on a line generally south towards the Shotover”.