Christchurch family ask for specialist help to find plane missing for 60 years

It’s one of New Zealand’s greatest aviation mysteries.

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A small plane with five people on board disappeared nearly 60 years ago. Source: 1 NEWS

In February 1962, a Dragonfly AFB aircraft took off from Christchurch Airport to Milford Sound.

But it never arrived.

One aviation author says it’s the most searched for aircraft in New Zealand.

“The dragonfly mystery has been an ongoing mystery in New Zealand and I wrote my book many years ago because I thought it was an interesting story. The public's always been interested,” says author Richard Waugh.

“There are a number of aircraft that have gone missing in New Zealand but the dragonfly stands out,” he continues.

“The aircraft is not only the most searched for aircraft in New Zealand, but it holds a special place in New Zealand aviation history because people are still searching for it today.”

One of those people is Bobbie Reeve.

Every year since 2008, he, his wife Llynnelley and sons Adam and Simon have searched the steep back country of the Mackenzie Basin.

“We've grid-searched the whole of the main Huxley, both sides through the bush. The bush was rugged, really steep. Some places we had to use ropes to get down,” Reeve says.

“It's about a three day walk from a vehicle to get in there before you can start doing anything.”

The Reeve family believes the wreckage is located in mountains in the Huxley Valley, just north of Lake Ōhau, and is probably in the snow.

But the search area is now above their skill level.

“We've come to the end of it really, it's like coming to a place where there's a whopping great big wall and there's no way you're going to get over it, so we haven't finished, we've just got to find a way over that wall," Reeve says. 

That wall, is the extremely difficult terrain in the mountains.

“We need the help now of professional people who would like to do something adventurous for a purpose,” says Reeve. 

“We’re looking at more of a mountaineer club, somebody who wants a bit of adventure, a helicopter pilot that would be interested in perhaps going in there and close filming of that particular area.

“Not so much looking for the aircraft, but look at it and see: Is it possible to be able to do a search up there? That's the next step: Is it possible to get up there and do a search?” he says.

“I don't really care now who finds the plane, as long as it's found."

Now anyone with the necessary skills and curiosity is urged to come forward, to help solve the 60-year mystery.

Interest can be expressed via email: