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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Nickelspoon Mining Company Airstrip

This airstrip is just over a mile south of a point six miles inland of the Gorge River and being over 1800 ft long is plenty long enough for the required 1000 ft  landing distance (over a 50 ft obstacle) and take off distance of 1800 ft (over a 50 ft obstacle) for a fully loaded Cherokee Six. EBU would have been quite a bit lighter by the time it got there due to the fuel it would have used. It is 1900 ft above sea level and has a gentle up hill slope (53 ft from the NW end to the SE end) which means a plane would use a lot less runway. I asked one of the local Cessna 180 pilots if he could land there next time he was over-flying it and check for any clues. Unfortunately he says that it is now unusable due to washouts. It was a long shot, but I was hoping that one of the occupants of ZK-EBU may have carved their name on a rock, or the like, seeing as they would have been on the ground there for a few hours hoping for the weather to clear. Maybe one of the local helicopter pilots could have a look?

If this is definitely where they landed (there’s really no where else) then why didn’t they stay there until they knew for sure that the weather had cleared?

To answer this, you have to put yourself in their position, and also in the position of the pilot who was responsible for their well being. Ned would have been under enormous pressure to get his fare paying passengers into, at the least, a comfortable bed for the night, so to stay there in the middle of nowhere, with no food, hot drinks, etc., would not have been an option - especially for the two women!

From my own experience, there is also the worry of knowing that there would have by then been a full scale search mounted, and the knowledge that people may be risking their lives to find you, puts a lot of pressure on you to take risks. There is no VHF radio coverage there, unless someone else was flying around, and due to the weather that would be very unlikely.


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