Returning bodies of Erebus victims

Returning bodies of Erebus victims

The bodies of the victims of Air New Zealand Flight TE901 were flown by Royal New Zealand Air Force Hercules aircraft to Whenuapai Air Base in Auckland.

Site investigation and recovery operation conclude

By 8 December 1979 the Erebus disaster recovery operation was finishing up, although bad weather delayed the evacuation of the Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) teams and the last loads of bodies, remains and personal belongings until that evening. Next day, with the evacuation in progress, Captains Tony Foley and Peter Rhodes of the NZ Airline Pilots Association, who were assisting with the site investigation, found another body while examining the cockpit flight panel. This was the last body retrieved. The last team left the crash site at around 6 p.m. the following day.

By 10 December the site investigation and recovery operation in Antarctica was complete. The investigators had recovered the Cockpit Voice Recorder, Digital Flight Data Recorder and other instruments, including the cockpit flight panel. The DVI teams had recovered 114 substantially intact bodies, 133 bags of human remains, and countless personal belongings. But many more weeks of work lay ahead in New Zealand to complete the investigation and identify the victims.

Part of: Operation Overdue

Next page: Operation Overdue in New Zealand - initial steps

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