Aviation and boat disasters

This blog collects stories of aviation, boat and railway disasters and tragedies that have happened in the New Zealand and Australian history, some of which caused huge political turmoil, as well as environmental catastrophes. Through talking with captains, families and people involved, these authors seek the truth behind what happened to cause these disasters.

  • Towards the mountain : a story of grief and hope forty years on from Erebus / Myles, Sarah
    “On 28 November 1979 an Air New Zealand plane, crashed into the lower slopes of Mount Erebus while on a sight-seeing trip to Antarctica, killing all 257 souls on board. This was New Zealand’s greatest and shocking peacetime tragedy. The Royal Commission of Inquiry found the airline was at fault rather than the pilots. Author Sarah Myles has researched extensively into the recovery and identification process that brought her grandfather and so many others home.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Weeping waters : when train meets volcano : the truth about New Zealand’s Tangiwai disaster at last / Le Vay, Benedict
“Weeping Waters: When train meets volcano is a meticulously researched and almost forensic reconstruction of one of the 20th century’s worst rail disasters – largely forgotten outside New Zealand – that comes up with a compelling new theory as to why the 151 people on that train died. Bringing the people and railways of 60 years ago back to life, the author works towards the nail-biting crescendo of the Tangiwai disaster.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Black tide : the story behind the Rena disaster / Julian, John
“The Rena, a 236-metre-long container ship, carrying 1368 containers along with 1700 tonnes of heavy fuel oil and 200 tonnes of marine diesel headed from Napier towards Tauranga. On 5 October 2011 It impaled on a pinnacle of rock at Astrolabe Reef. And by 9 October, fluids and lubricants seeping from her ruptured hull had formed a 5 km slick, making a major economic and environmental catastrophe.  BLACK TIDE looks at the ship and her crew and tells what was happening on the bridge that night; Maritime New Zealand’s version of events, and salvors and the people of the Bay of Plenty. ” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

QF32 / De Crespigny, Richard
“On 4 November 2010, a flight from Singapore to Sydney came within a knife edge of being one of the world’s worst air disasters. Shortly after leaving Changi Airport, an explosion shattered Engine 2 of Qantas flight QF32 – an Airbus A380. Hundreds of pieces of shrapnel ripped through the wing and fuselage, creating chaos as vital flight systems and back-ups were destroyed or degraded. In other hands, a supremely experienced flight crew, led by Captain Richard Champion de Crespigny, managed to land the crippled aircraft and safely disembark the 469 passengers after hours of nerve-racking effort. ” (Adapted from the Catalogue)