With the 40th anniversary of the Erebus accident to be marked in 2019, the New Zealand government is initiating a project to construct a national memorial. Erebus remains one of New Zealand's worst civil accidents in terms of loss of life, the scale of loss shocked the nation. 

PHOTO: Memorial cross at Mt Erebus. © Lou Sanson, Antarctica NZ Pictorial Collection: K325 07/08. Permission of Antarctica New Zealand must be obtained before any reuse of this image.

 

On the morning of 28 November 1979, Air New Zealand Flight TE901 left Auckland for an 11-hour return sightseeing flight to Antarctica. At 12.49 p.m. (NZST) the aircraft crashed into the lower slopes of Mt Erebus on Ross Island, Antarctica, killing all 257 passengers and crew.

 

Erebus remains one of New Zealand's worst accidents in terms of loss of life, the scale of loss shocked the nation. The plane was lost from the fleet of the national carrier; Air New Zealand was in full state ownership at that time.

 

The accident was significant in international terms; at the time it was the world's fourth worst aviation accident and there were 57 overseas nationals (mostly from Japan and the United States) on the flight.

 

The plane was lost in Antarctica, a continent with which New Zealanders have a special relationship but which very few will visit, which is why there is support for a memorial within New Zealand.

 

With the 40th anniversary of the accident to be marked in 2019, the New Zealand Government is initiating a project to construct a national memorial. The project will be led by Manatū Taonga the Ministry for Culture and Heritage.

 

Resources

 

For information on the Erebus accident, see the NZHistory, and Te Ara websites.

The New Zealand Airline Pilots' Association and the Erebus National Memorial group websites also have information on the accident.

 

Find out more about: