UPDATE 15 April 2012
Saturday 28th April, 2012, saw me on a Bluebridge Ferry crossing once again to the South Island (New Zealand) along with my Honda CBR 250 Hurricane motorbike, that I had bought to try to keep the traveling costs down. The plan was to stay at Graeme and Pam McConnell’s in Nelson until Monday morning to allow for a bad weather front to pass, only this did not pass until late Monday evening, so I was not back on the road until Tuesday.
After a long hard 8 ½ hr ride, I eventually made it to Clive and Michelle Jenkin’s place in Franz Josef, Tuesday night.
Next morning (Wednesday) we set off to Okarito in their Toyota Landcruiser, and after a two hour tramp, we were in the area. On a initial scout around in the area, things did not look promising as there was nothing obvious. Although it was a swamp, it was covered in very densely growing Manuka trees averaging about 12 to 14 ft high, so dense that we could easily talk to each other, but could not see each other!
To ensure the GPS co-ordinates were correct in relation to the aerial photograph, I purposely sought out the stream visible on the photo and followed it a fair distance, and then back up another one that flowed into it.
On return to Franz Josef, I spent the next two days going over the information and by loading my GPS tracks onto Google Earth, I was able to then ‘stretch’ and position the photograph to match in with the streams, and it became apparent that the original GPS position of the apparent aeroplane was incorrect.
Saturday we were back in there again, this time armed with 5 GPS’s between 4 of us...John Stone from Franz Josef was also with us, and the 5th GPS was just running as an extra back-up to add to the available information to see how accurate they all were.
Although we went over the recalibrated GPS spot very thoroughly, we came up with nothing!
We even probed the ground with 3ft long steel rods but still did not find anything.
There was no sign of anything that could explain what was on the photo. There were fallen logs further in the bush over towards the east, but none of those logs were lying in the directions that were shown on the photograph.
This image shows all the GPS tracks from both trips in. The Placemark Zk-Css, was the original position shown by locating the overlay of the photo using landmarks, and Zk-Css 2 is the spot after relocating the photo by way of the GPS track to the streams.
The straight lines shown are bought about by the cheaper GPS’s not being able to get a “fix” onto enough satellites, and so it just draws a line from one positive fix to the next.
The fact that we didn’t find anything brings me to three possible conclusions:
1/ The object was just another illusion bought about by something unknown.
2/ It was ZK-CSS, and someone has removed the wreck. According to the locals, this is virtually impossible, as being a small community - someone would have heard about it.
3/ Another plane had forced landed there, and it was later removed ...and now been forgotten about? I have not been able to find any record that would support this, but maybe someone reading this can enlighten us?
The only other possibility was that it was a plane flying over at the time, but this can be discounted as there is a shadow shown on the ground underneath it.
I’m currently waiting on another three aerial photos from NZ Aerial Mapping taken covering the same spot from various time periods not that long after the event, to see if I can come up with something...... When I got them, I was unable to shed any further light on the object, so it looks like this photo will remain a mystery on it’s own!
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