While out hunting a while ago we stumbled apon a track to the crash site of a DC3 in the kaimai ranges. We decided to go down to have a look and take some pictures of what was left, some of the parts left there were amazing.
Here is the memorial on old te aroha road.
The crash site from the road is in the center of this picture, you can't see anything.
30 minutes in a 4wd to the top of thompsons track or 3 hours walking and looking from the summit, the crash site is behind this hill, another 2 hours walk.
Someone has left a rope up there to make it easier to drop down into the site
The memorial plaque in the side of the rock face
Sorry about the picture quality!
The crash happened 3 July 1963, and sadly 23 people died when it struck the kaimai ranges and stormy conditions with low cloud and rain. We left the sight as we found it and hope others do the same when they visit.
When I was at the Walsh in January 1967 it was fairly standard practice to go have a look from the air. Even then - 3 1/2 years after the event - it was very easily seen, particularly the wing with the rego poignantly visible.
I too recall that the military attempted to conceal it but wonder when that was - after '67 perhaps?
Post by Dave Homewood on May 24, 2010 21:49:26 GMT 12
My Dad told me that it had been buried by the army too, mainly because people could see it glinting in the right light he said, and there were reports being made to police of a fresh crash when people saw the wreckage from the air and from roads. Maybe erosion has exposed it again?
When the accident happened there was a lot of time alledgedly wasted by police and SAR workers apparently when they went in by foot, because they supposedly went via a most inaccessible route that slowed their progress. Dad told me that many hunters around who were familiar with the hills were trying to tell them to go up a different route as it would be much quicker but they reckoned they knew best. Dad and one of his hunting mates decided (a few days after the police team had finally reached the site and bodies had been removed, etc) to go up that proposed route to see if it was possible. they got up there no trouble. Each had a camera and they took several shots, Dad's in black and white, the other chap with a coloured film. There were still investigators there on site, and Dad was being respectful and trying not to harm their investigation or be intrusive but the other chap apparently was not and so the police took his film. Dad kept his, and one of the photos from the set was published by Richard Waugh in his NAC book. The photos are quite unique and interesting but, with respect to my late Dad, I do find it a bit macabre that he wanted to go up for a look. I wouldn't.
Another thing Dad told me once when he talked about the crash was he met a lady who worked in the Civil Aviation crash investigators office as a typist, and they got onto this subject. She told him it was never released to the public but several days after the crash site was finally reached by the 'rescuers' the last body was found, well down the mountain by a fenceline - a woman passenger who died there after almost making it out to safety. I don't know if this is true. I haven't read Richard's book on the crash, does it mention this at all?
Does anyone know of any other crash sites in the central north island? I'v heard about the piako swamp corsair and that there isn't really anything there. Is there anything left of the site where NZ5353 crashed near mangatangi? Does anyone know if it was in the native bush or on farm land?
According to Richard Waugh's book, There was evidence that one passenger survived the initial impact and was found 50 yards from the main wreck, but had suffered horrendous internal injuries and he would have only survived a matter of minutes. The book identifies the victim (a Man) but I dont think thats necessary in this forum. The book states that although the SAS did collapse the cliff above the wreck, it only covered the burnt out forward fuselage, and there were still bits left exposed, notably the collapsed wings and tail section. The book has a series of photos taken at intervals throughout the 60s and 70s of the wreck slowly being absorbed by the bush. Richard's research is generally extremely good, but as a lot of it is based on official investigation reports, there may be differences to what witnesses at the time recall seeing.
If it was supposed to be easy. everyone would be doing it...
Sometime in the mid 1950s I went with a group of trampers (my estranged father was in this club in Otaki) to a crash site in the Tararus. We tramped in from Te Horo and eventually reached the crash site. My remembers is getting a little hazy, but I seem to remember one wing of the plane stuck in a tree. From what I was told it appeared that the plane crashed after receiving what was described as bogus radio signals.
Post by Fletcher400 on Jun 23, 2010 7:03:50 GMT 12
Mum witnessed the crash of AYZ that day in 1963, she was at primary school in Te Poi at the time and all the kids watched it fly overhead, she thought at the time it seemed pretty low, She said was a terrbile day and heard a muffled explosion shortly afterwards. For years she used to see it glissing in the sun up there. Very sad day.
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Still working out how to post photos, but there are plenty of civil and military crash sites in the north. Ruapehu has the Aero Commander and Lockheed, Waiuku another Corsair and there is still bits of a C47 visible as you cross the Upper harbour bridge to the north shore. I am sure with a metal detactor the B17 and B24 that crashed on takeoff from Whenuapai would show up. What about the pre war transtasman missing. A good story there.
Thanks for the photos...I too have spent a couple of weeks each January for the last 10 or so years sitting in the mobile control tower at the Walsh staring up into the hills wondering about that wreckage. I've flown over the site a number of times but haven't been able to spot anything from the air. I have always meant to take a 4wd drive up Thompsons and take "a stroll" down to the wreck, but it looks pretty rugged, and I've never quite had the energy!! It's still on my bucket list though!
To long up-lines and (slightly) shorter down-lines!