Morning report. 1979-11-29 - excerpt.

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Nonfiction radio programs
Radio news programs
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RNZ Collection
Bennett, Mark, Reporter
Blumsky, John (b.1928, d.2013), Reporter
Brittenden, Wayne, Reporter
Davis, Morrie, 1924-1995, Speaker/Kaikōrero
Hatcher, Mike, Speaker/Kaikōrero
Kirby, Dee, Reporter
Owen, Wilson, Reporter
Saxton, Craig, Speaker/Kaikōrero
Sullivan, Jim, 1946-, News presenter
Sledmere, Peter, News presenter
Rossiter Jr., Al, 1936-2013 (d.2013), Reporter
Thomson, Bob, Speaker/Kaikōrero
Shrimpton, Tony, Speaker/Kaikōrero

This recording is of the first half of Morning Report, from 7.00am to 7.30am on 29 November 1979. The focus of the programme is the crash of an Air New Zealand DC10 aircraft, flight TE-901, with 257 people on board, on Mount Erebus in Antarctica the previous night.

The programme is presented by Jim Sullivan and Peter Sledmere. It opens with Morning Report theme music, then Jim Sullivan introduces the programme which runs as follows:

1. Craig Saxton of Air New Zealand - actuality of his announcement of the loss of the plane.

2. Interview with reporter Wilson Owen from Auckland. Last contact with flight 901 had been at 2.18pm the previous day. Loss of contact was not unusual with Antarctic flights due to solar interference with radio. Shortly before 10pm, when it was estimated the DC10 would be out of fuel, Air New Zealand announced the plane had been lost. There follows a report by Mark Bennett from Auckland Airport at 10.00pm the previous night, where friends and family of passengers were waiting. At 1am news came through that a searching Hercules plane had spotted wreckage.

3. Interview with reporter John Blumsky in Christchurch. A Rescue Co-ordination Centre was set up last night at the Deep Freeze base at Christchurch Airport. Calls were coming in from all over the world. Actuality of an interview with Major Bruce Gumble, pilot of the United States Air Force Starlifter plane which last had contact with the Air New Zealand DC10. He comments on the radio contact he heard and the weather conditions at the time.

John Blumsky then interviews Al Rossiter Jr, a UPI correspondent from Washington, who was on board the Starlifter yesterday which was in contact with the DC10, and then became involved in the search. He says a pilot told him one of the last radio transmissions from the DC10 was its pilot saying they were "going lower" presumably for some sightseeing. [Low audio levels - Rossiter is off-mike for much of the interview.] John Blumsky then talks about plans today to try and get New Zealand investigators on to the crash site.

4. Correspondent from Tokyo, Wayne Brittenden, reports on Tony Shrimpton of the New Zealand Government Tourist Office delegation making an announcement about the crash at a Japanese Travel Conference – there follows actuality of his announcement. Many Japanese passengers were on-board the Air New Zealand flight.

5. News bulletin and weather.

6. Report from Ian Richardson in London on the inquest into the death of New Zealander Blair Peach.

7. Report from Barry Jordan in London on Rhodesia ceasefire proposals.

8. Ray Hays reports on the 9th day of the Commission of Inquiry into the Abbotsford landslip disaster.

9. Return to reporting on the Erebus Air New Zealand crash. Actuality of Morrie Davis, Chief Executive of Air New Zealand, reporting wreckage has been sighted on Mt Erebus. Helicopters have passed over the site and report no sign of survivors.

10. Interview with Bob Thompson, head of the Antarctic Division of the DSIR, describes the wreckage and its location, and speculates about how the aircraft came to be on the wrong side of Mt Erebus.
Excerpt of the previous interview with Major Bruce Gumble of the U.S. Air Force.

11. Public Relations Officer for the Deep Freeze Base, Christchurch, First Class Petty Officer Mike Hatcher reads a press release received from the crash scene shortly after 2am this morning. He details what the Hercules aircraft saw after spotting the wreckage.

12. Dee Kirby reports from Christchurch on current attempts to reach the crash site. Despite poor weather conditions, McMurdo Base is trying to lower men from helicopters on ropes. She says Deep Freeze has always discouraged tourist flights to the Antarctic because of a lack of rescue facilities.

13. Transport reporter John Bishop reports on the DC10 aircraft's sorry accident record and a list of previous incidents is read. Investigators of previous accidents have been scathing about the plane. The Air New Zealand plane was almost five years old.

14. News bulletin read by Peter Sledmere. Queen's message of sympathy (first sentence only).