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!
19th November 2010 saw Chris, Les and I back in the Willowflat Site after a clear weather period of about two weeks. This was in the hope of having a very low stream water level as it was our intention to search the stream along the base of the cliff face in the hope of finding the Gypsy Major engine from ZK-AJV.
The trip in this time was much easier as the Forestry tracks had been rebuilt by a bulldozer a few weeks prior, which allowed us to drive almost to the site.
I recently purchased an excellent book called “SHANDRYDAN - The Willow Flat Country”, written by Jim Frazer.
In his book he describes the stream as a ravine - named the Wai Wai Ravine. When we eventually got down through the bush to it, we found out why!
The photo on the left is of me, on the cliff side of the Wai Wai Ravine, looking down into it.
Although in this photo it shows me as being in open pasture land, where in fact there is very little of it. I tried to carry on down towards the Mohaka River along this face, but within 50 metres it returned to sheer cliff faces. I was hoping to be able to observe the bush from that side of the ravine, but it was not to be.
I had to back track, cross back across the stream and catch up with Chris and Les over terrain that was really only suitable for goats.
A lot of the ravine was virtually an underground “shute” carved out of the limestone, with a very narrow opening along the top.
You had to be very careful approaching it as it just appeared to be a small stream, until you got to the edge of it where it just dropped down at a guess, about 30 meters.
Often you would sidle up to the edge of it, look over, and then realise you were actually standing on an overhang!
In the few places where it became a normal
stream again, we checked all the loose rock piles visibly and checked the area with the metal detector, to ensure there wasn’t anything metallic buried under them. Unfortunately there were some rock piles down in the ravine that we were unable to get to.
It soon became apparent that if an engine had happened to end up in this stream/ravine then it would have long been washed down to the main river as it was very obvious that there had been very powerful currents of water which would flush anything well out to sea!
This photo shows what just looks like a ditch, but it is about 30 meters deep and much wider at the bottom than at the top!