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The technical side of what happened on Mt Erebus on that fateful November day back in 1979 has been brilliantly explained by Justice Mahon, the Royal Commissioner appointed to investigate the crash of the Air New Zealand DC-10. His magnificent investigation and conclusions were rubbished by a Prime Minister desperate to remove blame from Air New Zealand who, as Prime Minister and Finance Minister, was desperate to save the airline, to save its face and its possible financial ruin as a result of negligence claims. Without a doubt, the airline was grossly negligent in changing the navigation co-ordinates early in the morning on the day of the flight and not informing the pilot. Daughters of Erebus is the story of five people who were left behind and how the whole tragedy affected their lives. On the night of the crash, Maria Collins - wife of captain Jim Collins - was a 45-year-old mother of four girls, Kathryn, 15, Elizabeth, 13, Phillipa, 9 and Adrienne who was 6 years old. That night, their lives changed. The next day, because her Dad would have expected her to do so, Kathryn sat a School Certificate exam and passed. The girls have all been successful, all are highly educated. They are all quite different, all strong, independent individuals. They all have great senses of humour. Elizabeth says the accident made her an adult overnight. It broke forever a beautiful marriage of two people who loved each other desperately. Kathryn says they all became forever "collateral damage" of both the accident and the Chief Inspector's findings. They have never been able to end their grief. This is a New Zealand story told by one of the great New Zealand storytellers. It literally drips with pathos. It is a story which should - nay must - be read by all New Zealanders.
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