DISASTERS: Tour to a Snowy Death

A golden anniversary flight goes down with 257 victims

The clear, crisp morning promised perfect weather for flying and sightseeing, as Air New Zealand's Flight 901, a gleaming white-and-silver DC-10 with turquoise trim, took off from Auckland Airport. Coddled by a solicitous crew of 20, the 237 passengers settled down to a hefty breakfast as they began an exotic aerial voyage: an eleven-hour, 7,189-mile flight over the savage, frozen scenery of Antarctica. The $365 tourist junket, of a kind that has become popular in Australia and New Zealand in recent years, had been advertised as "a voyage to the end...

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