Date & Time: Oct 16, 1958 at 0903 LT
Type of aircraft:
Douglas C-124 Globemaster II
Landing (descent or approach)
Christchurch – Cape Hallett – McMurdo Sound – Christchurch
Crew on board:
Pax on board:
Captain / Total hours on type:
Copilot / Total hours on type:
The crew departed Christchurch on a supply mission to the bases of Cape Hallett and McMurdo Sound, carrying seven passengers, a crew of six and a load of 8,5 tons of wood. While approaching Cape Hallett at the altitude of 7,000 feet in a 'VMC on top' mode, the aircraft was already off course by 29 km. The pilot started the descent to 6,500 feet, completed a first turn to the right at 345° then a second turn to the left at 270° before reaching the Cape Hallett Bay. Shortly later, the crew reduced his altitude to 2,400 feet, went through the cloud layer at a speed of 135 knots and flaps were extended when the airplane struck the ground and disintegrated. The wreckage was spotted few hours later 37 km from the Cape Hallett camp and six wounded people were evacuated while seven others were killed.
It was determined that the accident was the consequence of several navigational error on part of the crew who was unaware of his exact position when starting the final descent to Cape Hallett camp. Poor visibility due to clouds remains a contributory factor.