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Forty years on, New Zealand apologizes for Antarctic plane disaster

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Forty years on, New Zealand apologizes for Antarctic plane disaster

Forty years on, New Zealand apologizes for Antarctic plane disaster

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern apologized on Thursday for the then-government's handling of a plane crash in Antarctica 40 years ago, that took the lives of 257 people in the country's worst peacetime disaster.

Lauren Anthony reports.

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Forty years on, New Zealand apologizes for Antarctic plane disaster

New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern apologized on Thursday (November 28).

For the then-government's handling of a tragic plane crash in Antarctica 40 years ago.

257 people died.

The crash had originally been blamed on the pilots.

But a later investigation revealed the airline had reprogrammed the aircraft's navigation system - without advising the crew.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) NEW ZEALAND PRIME MINISTER, JACINDA ARDERN, SAYING: "After 40 years, on behalf of today's government, the time has come to apologize for the actions of an airline, then in full state ownership, which ultimately caused the loss of the aircraft and the loss of those you loved.

This apology is whole hearted and wide-reaching, we will never know your grief but I know the time has come to say I'm sorry.

In making this apology I speak also for and with Air New Zealand." The Air New Zealand flight in 1979 was on a sightseeing tour from Auckland.

When it crashed into the side of volcano, Mount Erebus.




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