Erebus disaster 1979

Where can I find information about the Erebus disaster in 1979?

Entry last updated: 13/01/21


The Erebus disaster is considered New Zealand's worst air accident. On 28 November 1979, Air New Zealand flight TE901 crashed on the slopes of Mount Erebus during a scenic flight over Antarctica, resulting in the deaths of all 257 people on board. Controversy over the official investigation and the cause of the accident continues today.

General websites

These sites have lots of facts and information about what happened before, during and after the crash. This includes the investigation after the event, during which first Ron Chippendale and then Judge Mahon tried to figure out why the crash happened.

The Erebus Story

This site covers all aspects of the Erebus disaster, including the first investigation results. Select the School section to find their site Erebus For Kids.

  • On the main site, go to the Resources tab to find the Resource Library. This has books, documents and websites on Erebus and the disaster.
  • Try the Investigation tab to read about the results of the investigation in the Chippendale Report.
Tips: Websites that have .com or .co in the address can have good information, but you need to assess how reliable it is. This website is from the New Zealand Airline Pilot's association, so we should be able to trust the information.


NZHistory has a timeline of the Erebus disaster, including how the disaster was reported and detailed information about the site investigation.

  • Search using the keywords 'Erebus timeline' to find the Timeline to disaster page.
  • Check the Article Contents to find out more about the disaster.

Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand

Another great website for information about New Zealand disasters is Te Ara.

  • Try a search for 'Erebus' to bring up articles and pictures.
  • You will find articles about wreckage recovery, the air accident report and opposing views on what happened.

National Library of New Zealand

The National Library has lots of different types of information about the Erebus disaster.

  • Search for the keywords 'Erebus disaster' to look across all National Library Collections.
  • This will bring up references to books, pictures and New Zealand newspaper and magazine articles.
  • You may request copies of these articles through your school library using INNZ (Index New Zealand).

Tips: We like sites that are from government or other reputable organisations, because we can trust the information. You can sometimes tell these sites by their web address – they might have .govt or .ac in their address – or by looking at their About us or Contact pages.

Articles and primary sources

Primary sources are things like photos, interviews and other information recorded during an event or soon after by people who were involved.


This site brings together information and primary sources from lots of different New Zealand organisations.

  • Try searching for 'Erebus' or 'Erebus disaster'.
  • Go to the Images tab to find lots of different pictures related to the Erebus disaster.
  • Look under Audio to find sound recordings, like Radio New Zealand journalist John Blumsky's Report from Erebus, given not long after the accident.

Australia/New Zealand Reference Centre

This is one of the EPIC resources, a collection of reliable databases put together for New Zealand school students. You may need a password from your school or local library to access.

  • This site has lots of newspaper and magazine articles, and is a good place to explore issues from a New Zealand perspective.
  • Try searching for different keywords, like 'Erebus disaster', 'Erebus memorial' or 'Erebus investigation'.

New Zealand Geographic Archive

Another EPIC resource, this site has lots of in-depth articles about New Zealand. Search for 'Erebus' to find the article called Erebus: the fate of flight 901.

Tips: To get to the EPIC resources you will need a password from your school librarian first. Or you can chat with one of our AnyQuestions librarians between 1 and 6pm Monday to Friday and they will help you online. Some EPIC databases may also be available through your public library.


Many books have been written about the Erebus disaster - check out your local public or school library to see what they have.

Some recommended titles are:

SCIS no: 1845120
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