Sunday, February 12, 2012

Fifty years since dragonfly disappearance

Sun, 12 Feb 2012 6:16p.m.
By Jessica Rowe

Hundreds of aviation enthusiasts gathered in Christchurch today to mark 50 years since the disappearance of a dragonfly plane in the lower South Island.

The plane, with five people on board, disappeared on a scenic flight between Christchurch and Milford and though searchers never found the wreckage, they have not given up.

The aircraft is one of the most searched for aircraft in New Zealand’s aviation history.

“[It is] 50 years to the day since the Dragon Fly with five people took off, and vanished, so I just felt like we needed to do something. And I think today’s successful, gathering to remember, and maybe this is another part of the jigsaw that will solve the mystery – who knows?” says aviation historian Richard Waugh.

The aircraft went missing on February 12, 1962, with pilot Brian Chadwick, and four passengers, including a couple on their honeymoon.

Since that incident, five other aircraft have gone missing in what aviation historian Richard Waugh calls “New Zealand’s Bermuda triangle” – the rugged terrain between Milford Sound, Mt Aspiring and Haast.

Private searcher, Gavin Grimmer, has been searching for the dragonfly for the last five years.

“It’s about time it was found. There are people on board and lots of distressed families. I’d like to see closure for them,” says Mr Grimmer.

“It’s very important to mark the occasion but I also thought it was important to come over and support the groups who are still searching for the plane, to support nad encourage them,” say John and Pat Rowan, brothers of missing passenger Louis Brown.

Organisers of the day say around five hundred aviation enthusiasts turned out to show their support and admire the 25 aircraft on display.

They hope events like this will encourage further searches for the six missing aircraft in the years to come, and that the mystery of New Zealand’s Bermuda triangle will be solved at last.

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