NAC Lodestar

ZK-AHX Newspapercutting1

Waiky crash 1949

On this date a National Airways Corporation (NAC) passenger plane, the Kereru, a Lockheed Lodestar, with 15 persons on board, smashed into the Tararua range near Waikanae at an altitude of 1,500 ft (522 metres), and burst into flames on impact. There were no survivors. The Kereru was on a trunk flight from Auckland to Dunedin and crashed into the hillside a few minutes after receiving its landing instructions from the control tower at the Paraparaumu airport, 13 miles (21 km) away.

At the time of the accident the pilot was flying under visual flight rules, for which he had authority, due to a very low cloud base. Wreckage was sighted two hours after the Kereru had been posted overdue, but this turned out to be the remains of an Air Force Ventura lost three years before on a training flight.

Shortly afterwards, however, searching aircraft sighted burning debris on the forested hillside east of Waikanae: the remains of the Kereru, and when a rescue party reached the scene after a hazardous trek through the bush, they found parts of the burnt-out plane spread over a wide area. In the view of the Royal Commission of Inquiry, the tragedy was the result of faulty navigation.