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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 18392
Last updated: 14 January 2022
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Time:c. 1845
Type:Auster J/5B Autocar
Owner/operator:Waikato Aero Club
Registration: ZK-BET
MSN: 2950
Fatalities:Fatalities: 4 / Occupants: 4
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Oruanui, Taupo -   New Zealand
Phase: En route
Departure airport:Taupo NZAP
Destination airport:Hamilton NZHN
The Auster left Napier at 1515 on a VFR flight to Hamilton and landed at Taupo at 1615 where the pilot said he had made two attempts to transit the Lake Atiamuri area, but had been forced to divert due to the bad weather developing there.
A cold front was crossing the central North Island at the time, bringing areas of rain and poor visibility.

The pilot was strongly advised against the Atiamuri route by an experienced local pilot and alternative routes were suggested, but said he would make one more attempt and would come back to Taupo if the weather was too bad. The pilot was not instrument rated.
After making a phone call to Hamilton and confirming that the weather was still clear there, the pilot took off a little after 1800 and headed towards Atiamuri where an area of poor weather was visible from Taupo Airport.
Between 1800-1900 the aircraft was seen circling a farm at Oruanui before heading in the direction of Maroa, where it was heard passing low overhead in rain and drizzle at about 1845.
The Auster failed to arrive at Hamilton and was declared overdue.

An air search found the missing plane at 0930 the next day and a ground party reached the site of the crash at 1100.
The Auster had crashed at a 60 degree angle at high speed and its engine was buried 3 feet in the ground. All four occupants were found dead.
The accident investigators concluded : " 18 (e). The pilot inadvertently entered cloud while attempting to turn back :
(f). Control was lost in cloud and the aircraft entered a steep dive under power, striking the ground before recovery could be effected.
19. The accident was caused by loss of control in cloud at low level."

John Buchanan (33) pilot, Richard Johnson (33), Eldon Berry (19) and Alexander Butterworth (19).


Auster aircraft production ( )
Report No.25/3/898 of the Accident Investigation Branch, Air Department, Wellington.

Other occurrences involving this aircraft

11 Dec 1955 ZK-BET Tauranga, WBOP unk
23 May 1956 ZK-BET Rongotai Airport, Wellington unk

Revision history:

17-May-2008 11:10 ASN archive Added
24-May-2009 17:17 angels one five Updated
05-Jun-2009 03:06 angels one five Updated
22-May-2011 17:13 angels one five Updated [Time, Aircraft type, Operator, Total fatalities, Total occupants, Other fatalities, Location, Phase, Nature, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
27-May-2011 20:49 angels one five Updated [Narrative]
13-May-2013 11:22 angels one five Updated [Time, Aircraft type, Operator, Location, Departure airport, Destination airport, Narrative]
07-Oct-2021 18:32 Ron Averes Updated [Location]

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