Accident de Havilland DH.60G Gipsy Moth ZK-ABQ, Saturday 19 January 1935
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Date:Saturday 19 January 1935
Time:c. 14:00 LT
Type:Silhouette image of generic DH60 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
de Havilland DH.60G Gipsy Moth
Owner/operator:Canterbury Aero Club
Registration: ZK-ABQ
MSN: 1806
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:Sea, 15 miles N of Waipara, Canterbury -   New Zealand
Phase: En route
Departure airport:Omaka Aerodrome, Blenheim
Destination airport:Wigram Aerodrome, Christchurch
c/n. 1806 DH.60G Moth [Gipsy I #1208] delivered to Air Survey & Transport Co Ltd, New Zealand with C of A 2696 issued 16.9.30. Registered as ZK-ABQ on 16.8.30 to Air Survey & Transport Co Ltd. Re-registered 15.11.30 [or 27.11.30] to Canterbury Aero Club, Christchurch.

DH Moth ZK-ABQ took off from Sockburn Aerodrome on a Saturday morning in an intended flight to Wellington.
The foggy flying conditions encountered caused the pilot to land at Blenheim to await an improvement in the weather but when, after waiting for the rest of the morning, no improvement looked likely the decision was made to return to Christchurch.

The pilot was hugging the coastline in bad visibility and at a low height about seven miles (12 kilometres) north of the Waipara River mouth when he took evasive action as a cliff appeared ahead. In doing so he lost control of the aircraft and it dived into the sea about 250 yards from the rocky coastline.

According to a contemporary local newspaper report of the inquest into the death of the passenger (Otago Daily Times, 21 February 1935, Page 14 - see link #2):

(Per United Press Association)
CHRISTCHURCH, February 20.

Warm praise for the efforts made, by Cecil Hayth to rescue his companion, Richard Noel Roake, when the aeroplane in which they were flying horn Blenheim to Christchurch fell into the sea at Waipara on January 19, was expressed by the coroner (Mr H. P. Lawry), at the conclusion to-day of the inquest into the death of Roake. A verdict of accidental death by drowning was returned, the coroner remarking that there appeared to be no cause for comment on Roake's piloting of the machine, that it was apparent every reasonable safety precaution had been taken, and that the flying regulations had been complied with.

"I should not let this opportunity pass without emphasising the praise that is due to Haigh for the sustained and salient efforts he made in his endeavour to net his companion ashore and the prolonged search for help he subsequently made," said Mr Lawry, after announcing his verdict. "The evidence shows that Haigh was continuously occupied in this task for 12 hours, with very little rest, and one cannot speak too highly, of the efforts which he made in very trying circumstances."

The only evidence of how the accident occurred was that of Cecil Herbert Haigh, manager of the Majestic Theatre, Christchurch, who was in the aeroplane as a passenger with Roake. On January 19, said witness, he accompanied Roake in an Aero Club machine to Blenheim. The trip north was made without incident. -They left Blenheim on the return at 12.40 p.m., having received a report from Christchurch that the weather was favourable. Near Motunau Island the visibility was obscured by mist. Roake was following the coastline, and in order to see the breaking surf had to come down to 400 or 500 feet. They both knew there was a headland in front and were looking out for it.

Witness did not see it, but apparently Roake did, for he suddenly turned the machine sharply to the left. The machine was so close to the headland that Roake had to execute a stall turn with the wings at right angles to the ground. The turn was' completed, and the pilot zoomed down with an open throttle. At the moment witness expected the machine to lift again. they were in the sea, the machine floating upside down.

Witness unfastened his safety belt, Roake was hanging from his belt trying to unfasten it, and he lost consciousness before witness succeeded in releasing him. Witness got him to the surface, where he revived after 30 seconds. They held on to the machine and both. took off their overcoats. The machine was sinking fast. Witness swam off and recovered the landing wheels, which were floating 30 feet away. Roake and he, holding the wheels, struck out for the shore but made little progress. Roake said he would have a rest and then swim for it. After a rest of three minutes, Roake set out for a rock 50 yards off shore. He reached it and was resting in the water with his hand on the rock when a big wave flooded the rock. Roake disappeared, and witness saw him 15 yards on the seaward side of the rock, apparently in a bad way.

Witness went to his assistance and brought him to the surface and eventually ashore. Witness tried to revive him but failed, and then went for assistance. It was witness's opinion that Boake was dead when he was brought ashore"


1. Evening Post, 21 January 1935, Page 10:
2. Otago Daily Times, 21 February 1935, Page 14:
3. Inangahua Times, 21 February 1935, Page 2:
4. Waihi Daily Telegraph, 21 February 1935, Page 3:
12. AHSNZ, 1988, Journal, Vol 31 No 2.


Revision history:

29-Dec-2021 02:47 angels one five Added
29-Dec-2021 19:15 angels one five Updated [Narrative]
16-Jan-2022 04:07 Ron Averes Updated [Location]
23-Jan-2022 03:54 Ron Averes Updated [Aircraft type]
13-Feb-2022 10:36 Ron Averes Updated [Location]
31-Oct-2023 20:22 Dr. John Smith Updated
31-Oct-2023 20:22 harro Updated
01-Nov-2023 17:24 Dr. John Smith Updated
16-Nov-2023 07:35 Ron Averes Updated [Aircraft type, Location, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]

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