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3rd Degree Returns: The Fox Glacier Plane Crash


Tuesday 25 March, 2014


3rd Degree returns this week (Wednesday, 26 March at 8.30pm) with a special investigation into one of New Zealand’s worst air accidents, the 2010 Fox Glacier skydiving plane crash.

In the season premiere of TV3’s weekly in-depth current affairs programme, reporter Michael Morrah literally unearths new evidence in the crash that killed nine people.

In September 2010, only days after the accident, Government investigators ordered much of the wreckage of the Walter Fletcher FU24 airplane buried. Now 3rd Degree is digging it up, supervised by two of the country’s top accident investigators, and asking: what if the Government’s accident investigators got it wrong?

At the time the Fox Glacier crash seemed cut-and-dried. The Government’s Transport Accident Investigation Commission found the plane was overweight and loaded in a way that made its tail too heavy, effectively laying the blame with the owners of the skydiving company.

The Commission’s report said “no technical defects were identified that may have contributed to the crash.” Independent investigators interviewed by 3rd Degree have a different opinion. They say the Commission’s investigation was rushed and they are appalled that crucial parts of the wrecked plane were buried

And if they are right, and the cause is mechanical, are other similar NZ aircraft flying with the same (undiscovered) problems?

Also on 3rd Degree this week, Phil Vine catches up with New Zealand’s own blade-runner; fitted with new blades thanks to the generosity of TV3 viewers. Liam Malone is now heading for Olympic gold, but he faces one big challenge on the way – a face-to-face meeting with a great white shark.

Hosted by Duncan Garner and Samantha Hayes, 3rd Degree is a weekly one-hour programme featuring stories from some of New Zealand’s top journalists, including Paula Penfold, Melanie Reid, Sarah Hall, Phil Vine, Duncan Garner and Samantha Hayes. Major stories in 2013 included Paula Penfold and Eugene Bingham’s Teina Pora investigation, and new revelations in the David Bain case from Melanie Reid.

- ends -

3rd Degree screens Wednesdays at 8.30pm on TV3

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