Friday, November 27, 2009

Prayers at Scott Base in the Antarctic to remember Mt Erebus crash thirty years ago.

Erebus tragedy: The quest for truth.

A prayer will be said and a period of silence observed at Scott Base around 12.50pm today to mark the moment 30 years ago when an Air New Zealand plane crashed in Antarctica.

All 257 passengers and crew on Flight 901, which was on a sightseeing trip from Auckland on November 28, 1979, died when the DC10 struck the foothills of Mt Erebus.

Memorial services were being held at 11am today at Scott Base, from which Erebus is visible, and in Auckland and Christchurch.

Scott Base co-ordinator Yvonne Costar said 60 to 80 people were expected at the service at the base.

Among them would be staff from the United States research centre at McMurdo Station.

"We have quick a few people coming from McMurdo," she said.

"Some of them were here 30 years ago."

The service will be held indoors in the dining room, and others who will be present include six people who lost family members in the crash.

The six - among them Pip Collins, daughter of the pilot, Captain Jim Collins - were drawn by ballot to fly on a US Air Force C10 cargo plane for the anniversary.

Ms Costar said the service would be followed by lunch and then the 12.50pm ceremony, which would be outside at the flagpole.

Earlier today, Air NZ chief executive Rob Fyfe, flight attendants and pilots attended a wreath laying ceremony at the Erebus Crew Memorial Garden at Auckland Airport.

Also remembered were the five New Zealanders and two Germans who lost their lives in an Air NZ Airbus crash in the south of France a year ago today.

Family members of those New Zealanders have gathered in Perpignan for commemorations there.

Acknowledgements: NZPA