New Zealand Red Cross worker killed in Vietnam

12 March 1975

Mac Riding, 1975 (Leonie Clent, NZ Red Cross)

Returning from leave in Laos, 30-year-old Malcolm ‘Mac’ Riding was on board an Air Vietnam DC4 when it crashed 25 km from his Red Cross team’s compound near Pleiku, South Vietnam.

The plane crashed into territory controlled by the National Liberation Front, which made it difficult for investigators to get to the crash site. This also made it complicated to determine the cause. Eyewitness accounts saw the plane trailing smoke and attempting to land at an airstrip before pulling up and then crashing. Subsequent reports indicated that it had been struck by a heat-seeking missile. Riding’s body was never found.

British-born but New Zealand-educated, Riding was an optical engineer and former relieving lighthouse keeper who had spent time in the Peruvian Andes and Antarctica. He arrived in Vietnam with the Red Cross in 1973 and became leader of the organisation’s sixth welfare team in September 1974. In 2003 Malcolm Riding was awarded the New Zealand Operational Service Medal for his services to the Red Cross. 

Community contributions

1 comment has been posted about New Zealand Red Cross worker killed in Vietnam

What do you know?

John Riding

Posted: 16 Apr 2019

Mac Riding's DNA was NOT found at the crash site. No attempt has been made by any RC or NZGovt executive to further investigate this. As hus brother, (John, [email protected]) I am dismayed at NZ's ability to ignore such matters, especially Bob McKerrow, who has revisted the area and ignores the fact that Mac was ever there.