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!
This aircraft was owned by Cascade Whitebait Ltd and had that morning been flown by Ryan from the Cascade River airstrip, to Waitoto, and then on to West Melton with a load of whitebait.
No one knows for sure, but according to radar tapes an aircraft left West Melton at 11.46
and it last appeared on the tape on track for Waitoto 73 - 76 miles south-west of Christchurch.
From about 2.00pm onwards, there was several observations of an aeroplane matching the
description flying south from Haast to Jacksons Bay, where it was seen to turn and fly north
again. It was seen north of Haast, flying north, at about 2.30, and at 3.00 was seen flying up
the beach at Bruce Bay in terrible weather. From there it gets strange as all the times of the
sightings were suddenly much too late in the afternoon to be able to be explained as being
that of ZK-FMQ, unless he had landed, maybe on an isolated beach, and then continued on
an hour or so later - but this theory, creates more questions than answers! The belief is that when he arrived back at Waitoto there was a squall going through with 40 knot winds - so strong that cars were being sandblasted by the sand being blown about and so being unable to land he had headed north staying between two fronts looking for a safe place to put down.
When he got as far as Ross, he headed inland trying to find a suitable strip as he knew this area well and somewhere within a 30 km radius of Hokitika he disappeared.