Air tragedies recalled in New Zealand, Antarctica and France

28th November 2009, Comments 0 comments

Memorial services have been held in New Zealand, Antarctica and France to commemorate two Air New Zealand tragedies that claimed 264 lives.

Wellington - Memorial services have been held in New Zealand, Antarctica and France to commemorate two Air New Zealand tragedies that claimed 264 lives.

Services in New Zealand and Antarctica on Saturday marked 30 years since a DC10 carrying 257 people on a sightseeing flight slammed into Mount Erebus in the southern continent killing all on board.

Last year, seven people died when an A320 Airbus crashed in France while on a test flight.

The Erebus tragedy was marked at Scott Base in Antarctica by about 70 people, including six who lost relatives.

High winds prevented a helicopter from carrying the six family members to place a wreath under a cross erected at the crash site.

At a service in New Zealand, Air New Zealand chief executive Rob Fyfe repeated his apology of last month to those who lost family members at Erebus and did not receive support and compassion from the airline in the years that followed.

"The airline made mistakes and undoubtedly let down people affected by the tragedy," he said, adding one of the key lessons from Erebus was that nothing could turn the clock back or alter what caused an accident.

"But where we can make a difference is how we support those who suffer unimaginable loss."

Fyfe also again praised the French coastguard, police and others involved the aftermath of the Airbus crash in which the plane plunged into the sea off the coast of Perpignan.

"Air New Zealand will forever be indebted to those who faced extreme weather and sea conditions as they fought their way to the site immediately following the impact and for the subsequent efforts to recover our men and to search for clues as to what caused the accident," he said.

During the service in France, wreaths were laid on the water where the aircraft went down, and a boat's horn sounded seven times at 4.46am Saturday New Zealand time (1546 Friday GMT), the exact time of the crash.

AFP/Expatica

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