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White Silence: The Caravan – 2/6


This story is part of White Silence, a six-part podcast series from Stuff and RNZ to mark the 40th anniversary of the Erebus disaster

About this podcast series

On November 28, 1979, an airliner took off from Auckland Airport on a sightseeing trip to Antarctica.

There were 257 people on board.  hours later everyone was dead.

Somehow, the plane had flown directly into the Erebus volcano. This was a disaster that shattered a country’s psyche.

In the decades since, grief gave way to blame, anger and recrimination. Who was responsible for so many deaths? Was there a cover-up? How could a plane just fly into a mountain?

In White Silence, Michael Wright and Katy Gosset explore why New Zealand’s deadliest disaster was also its most controversial; why a nation was incapable of moving on; and why it was captured by one famous phrase: ‘an orchestrated litany of lies’.

This episodeThe Caravan

Jim and Maria Collins had been together for nearly 20 years when Jim was killed on 28 November 1979.

They had four daughters and a life together, then one day Jim was gone – killed in the Erebus disaster.

Like the families of the 256 other victims, the Collins grieved, but they had to worry about something else as well.

Jim was the captain of Air New Zealand flight TE901 when it crashed into the slopes of Mt Erebus in Antarctica, killing all 257 people on board. He was the man in charge during the deadliest disaster in New Zealand’s history.   MORE AT LINK

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