Exoneration sought for Erebus crew

First officer Gregory Cassin of the DC-10 jet airliner that crashed into Mt Erebus. Photo / Supplied
First officer Gregory Cassin of the DC-10 jet airliner that crashed into Mt Erebus. Photo / Supplied

United Future leader Peter Dunne has added his voice to calls for Parliament to officially clear the pilot and crew of the 1979 Air New Zealand Erebus crash of blame.

The United Future leader plans to talk to the Government and other parties about what could be done.

The crash killed 257 people. The original inquiry by chief accident inspector Ron Chippindale blamed pilot error but a subsequent royal commission of inquiry led by Justice Peter Mahon blamed the airline for changing the navigation co-ordinates without telling the pilot Captain Jim Collins and First Officer Greg Cassin.

Writing in the Herald today, Mr Dunne describes the Erebus disaster as "our version of the Kennedy assassination", an event that scarred the nation and in which everyone knew where they were at the time they heard the news.

Mr Dunne said he read Paul Holmes' book Daughters of Erebus which also calls on Parliament to exonerate the crew.

And the pending departure of Air New Zealand chief executive Rob Fyfe, who apologised to the families for the airline's handling of it, had also been a catalyst.

Mr Dunne said the most obvious course the Parliament could take would be to pass a motion of exoneration. Another option might be a Government statement.

Former Transport Minister Maurice Williamson tabled the Mahon report in Parliament in 1999 and had thought by doing so he had corrected the official record. He later learned both reports had equal status with the International Civil Aviation Organisation.

- NZ Herald

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