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6 July 2012

However, due to the efforts of Noel Hilliam of Dargaville, a man who has found several shipwrecks and even an old German U-boat off the coast from Dargaville,  it now appears this plane going down in the sea was not the case. Noel had heard several stories from local people who believed they had seen this aircraft on the day it disappeared in the area of Dargaville, and going by the observations that they gave, he was able to do a triangulation using Google Earth to show the most likely position that it disappeared in. This area is south of Dargaville and is in the middle of the tidal Wairoa River that leads up to Dargaville at the northern end of Kaipara Harbour.

With the help of a friend with a helicopter and magnetometer, they were able to find the position of three sections of possible wreckage under water in this area in the middle of this river. By using a side scan sonar, they were able to obtain the following image:

Noel is intending to raise the wreckage/object to the surface sometime in the future but is having difficulty as the tidal currents keep covering the object with mud and then expose it again. Noel is looking for a pattern in this tidal frequency so as to know when to expect it to be uncovered in advance to enable a salvage operation.

According to the information that I have, within several days of it’s disappearance, several pieces of it were washed up on the beaches outside of the harbour and were later supposedly identified as coming from this aircraft.

If what Noel has found is definitely from NZ2425, then this can simply be explained as having been washed there via the river outlet and then the harbour outlet. From my experiences of that harbour in my younger years, this is very feasible knowing how strong the rip is on the out-going tide!  


We wish you every success, Noel.....Great work!


The wreckage shown here is thought to be part of the fuselage and tail section.

To understand how to read a side-scanning sonar image, have a look at this most interesting video: v=0vHOdp7UqeU  and then you will understand what is shown in this image. Knowing what these river beds normally look like (just a layer of mud) and taking into account the triangulation of the eyewitness reports, I would say that Noel does have a good point - however in saying that, it could also just be a dead tree. The only way to know for sure is to dive onto it, or get a camera down to it, but once again, knowing these rivers, due to the muddy waters the camera would only see a distance of about half an arms length away and if the object had a layer of mud over it, you would not be able to discern anything!

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