Bob Thomson describes scene of Erebus crash

Bob Thomson, superintendent of the Antarctic Division of the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, confirms that there were no survivors of the crash and predicts that it is unlikely that all the bodies will be recovered.

Transcript

Bob Thomson: They [the NZ mountaineers first to arrive at the crash site] saw very very little of an aircraft. There was obviously a major burn. There's a suggestion that there may have been an explosion. In fact it appears there was an explosion on impact. It must have gone in very hard and so you know things happened very quickly after that.

Interviewer: You confirmed quite early this afternoon that there were no survivors?

Bob Thomson: Yup, that's correct. I think that's the important thing. There are certainly no survivors.

Interviewer: Were the bodies clearly visible?

Bob Thomson: Some, about 50 or 60 bodies are visible. Others well they may be buried under the snow. There's so much snow movement there. There's been quite an amount of wind and the snow in the area is very light, very dry and it drifts over the material very very quickly.

Interviewer: What chance is there then that all the bodies will be recovered?

Bob Thomson: I would say very little chance of recovering all bodies. I'd say it's hard to say really until one gets down there and has a look oneself.

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