National | Air New Zealand

Minute's silence: Mt Erebus disaster 41 years ago today

The union representing aviation workers has invited Kiwis to join in observing a minute's silence this afternoon in remembrance of the 237 passengers and 20 crew lost in Air New Zealand’s Mt Erebus disaster 41 years ago today.

“Today marks a day when our national airline, the nation, and the families of those aboard, suffered a great tragedy," says Dayna Townsend, an E tū union organiser.

The one-minute silence at 1.49pm will mark the moment of impact when passengers and crew on Air New Zealand flight TE901 lost their lives in the tragedy on the slopes of Mt Erebus in Antarctica 41 years ago.

A wreath-laying ceremony will be held at the crew memorial garden near Auckland Airport in Māngere this afternoon.

Townsend says a small gathering of about 20-30 people is expected to attend the service, including friends and whānau of those who lost their lives, as well as current crew.

"The event is particularly poignant this year, as we consider the upheaval and thousands of job losses for aviation workers as a result of the pandemic.”

Labour MP Marja Lubeck - a former flight attendant, union president and E tū Head of Aviation - will attend the service on behalf of the government.

E tū says it also remembers today the five Kiwi aviation workers who died in 2008 when their Air New Zealand A320 crashed off the coast of Perpignan, France.