Monday, December 7, 2009

Erebus tragedy etched onto Kiwi psyche

Three decades before this week, New Zealand was a mass of tears.

The country suffered its most horrible air tragedy ever when, on November 28, 1979, an Air New Zealand plane on a tourism flight over Antarctica slammed into Mount Erebus, killing all 257 on board.

The DC10 ploughed into the snow-covered slopes in whiteout conditions that made even the 3,600m ton invisible.

Toll-wise, it was numerous notches above Australia's worst air crash, a US plane that went down at Bakers Creek, northern Queensland in June 1943, killing 40 soldiers.

And given New Zealand's 1970s inhabitants of just three million, it's not astonishing almost each one knew someone who was on the Erebus flight, or at least knew someone who knew someone on the doomed jet.

Two hundred Kiwis, 24 Japanese, 22 Americans, six Britons, two Canadians, one Australian, one French and one Swiss were departed.

The national grieving was overwhelming but the tremendous sadness was soon replaced with bitter anger as the country's nationwide carrier fumbled in its dealings with victims and the public.

No counselling was offered and Air New Zealand was quick to responsibility its pilot Jim Collins and his squad even though it was soon revealed they weren't at fault.

Vacation Turns fatal After Car Flips Into Pond

ORLANDO -- A fatal car accident devastates a Jacksonville family on vacation in Orlando.
Dana King was killed and her fiancé and his children were hospitalized when the car they were driving flipped over into a retention pool.

It happened Saturday afternoon behind a Benihana eating place on the 12000 block of Floridays Resort Drive.

The vehicle crashed through a fence and into a retention pool between the resort and the eating place. Because the retention pool had a steep embankment, the car flipped over.

The father, Brandon Nesmith, and his 14-year-old daughter, Ariel King, were capable to get out of the car.

But bystanders and crisis personnel had to jump into the water to help get the 33-year-old's two other daughters, Taylor and Brealyn, out.

While Nesmith and his children were transported to region hospitals, the Orange County Dive group continued to search for the 35-year-old woman.