Erebus Crash – An apology from Air NZ

Nearly 30 years ago, 257 people lost their lives in the worst plane crash that Air New Zealand has ever had. The plane hit Mt Erebus in Antarctica and everyone was killed.

Today, the CEO of Air NZ, Rob Fife, showed a new sculpture outside the Air New Zealand building to remember the crash. He invited the families who had lost someone on that plane to see the sculpture. He spoke to the families and apologized for the way Air NZ acted after the crash. He said that Air NZ had not given enough support to the families. At the time, Air NZ blamed the pilot. They said he had made a mistake but in an inquiry later, a judge said Air NZ had told lies. The airline had made a computer mistake.

Today, Rob Fife said that the pilot and the flight crew – co-pilot and navigator – were excellent professionals. He said a crash is caused by many things not by one person. The families were pleased to hear these men praised for their skill.

That day, the 28th November, 1979, the plane had left Auckland early in the morning, stopped at Christchurch to pick up more passengers, then flew to Antarctica on a non-stop 11 hour trip. It was a sightseeing trip to see Antarctica from the air. However, because of a mistake, the plane took the wrong flight path and flew into the mountain.

Air NZ stopped sightseeing trips after that. Most New Zealanders remember or know about this terrible disaster.

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