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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On January 12, 2009,  I set off again down to the West Coast of the South Island (New Zealand), this time in my Toyota van that I had kitted out with a bed ,etc., for accommodation.

When I got to James Scott’s place, (Alpine Adventures) south of Fox Glacier, he flew me in his Hughes 500 helicopter into the Jacobs River Valley - where I believe the Dragonfly ZK-AFB ended up in. This belief is based on all my research I have done on the subject and with this research I have dug up lots of evidence to say that it is in there, including apparent wreckage on an old 1965 aerial photo and an eye witness that actually saw it fly in there!

I spent that afternoon, overnight, and most of the next day in there covering as much of the area as possible using a GPS and a metal detector but didn’t find anything. It needs to be pointed out that this is a very narrow mountain valley that doesn’t get many hours of sunlight and so it is a very damp valley. Ferns just love damp soil and so the whole area is almost completely covered in ferns making it like a ‘looking for a needle in the haystack’ scenario. Ferns also drop their branches regularly as they grow, creating a layer of silt over all the ground which compounds the problem further, and to add to this, rotting trees were laying all over the place decaying.    

It quickly became obvious that I was wasting my time in there, so I called up the helicopter to pick me up, with the intention of returning one day (hopefully soon) with better equipment like a magnetometer or a Synthetic Aperture Radar (mini-SAR). A wood and fabric aircraft in those conditions would have long disappeared and all that would be left is large metal objects such as the motors, and these can be detected from the air with equipment such as these.

To date, we have located a magnetometer but we are still trying to find out whether this particular machine has the capabilities to do the job required - Here’s hoping!!

(We later found that this magnetometer was not suitable to do what we would have required of it)


Read on for the next search....

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