There were 25 people participating in the body recovery operation on the crash site in Antarctica: 10 police officers, 5 volunteer mountaineers, 5 DSIR workers, 5 American Navy personnel.
The probable cause was defined by Mr Ronald Chippindale in his report as “the decision of the captain to continue the flight at low level toward an area of poor surface and horizon definition when the crew was not certain of their position, and the subsequent inability to detect the rising terrain that intercepted the aircraft's flight path.
The Mahon Report is the report of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the accident in Antarctica, which was conducted by Justice Peter Mahon.
The Mahon Report was originally shelved (unaccepted by Parliament) upon the report’s release in 1981. In 1999, Maurice Williamson tabled the Mahon Report in the NZ Parliament, which finally recognised the report as an official government report.
READ THE MAHON REPORT
In the Mahon Report, Justice Mahon documented “The single dominant and effective cause of the disaster was the mistake made by those airline officials who programmed the aircraft to fly directly at Mt Erebus and omitted to tell the aircrew. That mistake is directly attributable, not so much to the people who made it, but to the incompetent administrative airline procedures which made the mistake possible. “
Mahon also stated “In my opinion, neither Captain Collins nor First Officer Cassin nor the flight engineers made any error which contributed to the disaster, and were not responsible for its occurrence.”