(Dec, 20)
Ocean Rowing Champion Phil Stubbs
dies in plane crash...

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Rob Hamill (left) and Phil Stubbs at finish of their record Atlantic Ocean row

    The Ocean Rowing Society just received word from New Zealand that Atlantic Ocean rowing record holder Phil Stubbs has died in a plane crash. Below is the message received from Rob Bristow, who maintained the website for the Kiwi Challenge (rowers Phil Stubbs and Rob Hamill) during the Port St. Charles Atlantic Rowing Race.
      On behalf of the Ocean Rowing Society members and trustees we would like to express our deepest sorrow to Phil's family and friends. Phil will always hold a special place in our hearts as a true champion in every sense...

Kenneth F Crutchlow -- executive director ORS
Tom Lynch-- American Coordinator

(we will post more on Phils passing as we get news...see the TV One story below)

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above photo's by
Jon Nash Photography


To: "Tom Lynch" <tlynch@sonic.net>
From: "Rob Bristow" <rbristow@clear.net.nz>
Subject: Phil Stubbs
Date sent: Mon, 21 Dec 98 09:10:22 PST

Hi Tom

A rather sad message for publishing I am afraid.

20/12/98 - New Zealand has lost not only an outstanding athlete but a very
special person with the death of Phil Stubbs in a aircraft crash at the

If there is any one who wishes to send a message I am happy to ensure any
email is passed on to the family. As I do not have his parents email
address. I am waiting for info from Robbie Hamill at the moment - he may
have an address In which case I will let you know and publish it on my

For the moment it can be sent to me at rowing@clear.net.nz


kiwi.jpg (14598 bytes)

(photo by Tatianna Rezvaya Crutchlow
in Tenerife Canary Island)

  22/12/98 - Witnesses talk of athlete's beach fun
By Tony Wall

Athlete and policeman Phil Stubbs was in his element on Sunday, joining Karekare Beach surf patrols and doing a training swim before he died while taking off from the beach in a light aircraft. Details of Mr Stubbs' last hours emerged yesterday as crash investigators pieced together what went wrong when the single-engined Piper Cub he was flying plunged into the sand about 6.30 pm. Civil Aviation Authority air-worthiness and flight operations specialists are inspecting the wreckage and interviewing all witnesses.

Mr Stubbs' American brother-in-law, Mark Gusse, who was seated behind him in the plane, suffered serious facial injuries on impact and was last night undergoing surgery to save his eyesight. Mr Gusse is married to Mr Stubbs' sister Rachel, and the couple are holidaying in Auckland from their United States base. Mr Stubbs, an experienced pilot and Papakura police sergeant, took off from Ardmore Airport during the afternoon and landed at Karekare Beach about 3 pm. A senior member of the surf club, Karel Witten-Hannah, said it was not often that planes landed on the beach but there were no regulations against it.

Mr Stubbs, a New Zealand surfboat racing champion, had joined the surf patrol and later took part in a training swim, generally having an enjoyable afternoon. Mr Witten-Hannah said it appeared Mr Stubbs commented to someone before he took off that something was wrong with the plane's rudder. Witnesses said the plane took off normally, then started to turn right before nose-diving into the beach, its single engine screaming. The president of the syndicate owning the classic 1950s plane, Vern Sharplin, said the $65,000 aircraft was maintained to a very high standard as a matter of pride.

Mr Stubbs captured world attention last year when he and Hamilton's Rob Hamill rowed across the Atlantic in 41 days, breaking the double-handed crossing record by 32 days.

  21/12/98 - Adventurer dies as plane plummets
A Papakura policeman who conquered the Atlantic in a small rowing boat was killed last night when the light plane he was flying nose-dived into a West Auckland beach.

Transatlantic rower Sergeant Phil Stubbs was killed when a Piper Supercub he part-owned plunged into the sand at Karekare about 6.30 pm. His brother-in-law, Mark David Gusse, was seriously injured and was fighting for his life early today in Auckland Hospital.

Friends and work colleagues of Mr Stubbs - a keen pilot and adventure sportsman - were stunned at news of his death. Hamilton Olympic rower Rob Hamill - who rowed across the Atlantic with Mr Stubbs in a record-shattering 41 days last year - said he felt numb. Papakura police welfare officer Mark Leys said Mr Stubbs, aged 36, had an amazing zest for adventure. "Somebody who was close to him said to him when he was about to set off on the Atlantic rowing trip, `What do you fear?' He said, `I fear coming second'."

Witnesses described watching the plane plummet, engines screaming, seconds after taking off from Karekare beach. The force of the impact trapped both men in the wreckage and fire crews had to cut them free. The aircraft was owned by an Ardmore Airport syndicate of about 50 tailwing enthusiasts, including Sergeant Stubbs.

Pictured: The Piper Supercub after it crashed into the sands of Karekare Beach. HERALD PICTURE/BRETT PHIBBS

ONN News Index Trans-Atlantic hero dies

Plane crash: Atlantic rower killed



(1,027kb avi)

(400kb avi)

     One of the two New Zealanders who set a record for rowing the Atlantic has been killed in a plane crash. Phil Stubbs, a policeman, died when a dual-control Piper Supercub crashed on Karekare beach west of Auckland last night. The other person in the plane, Stubbs' brother-in-law Mark Gusse, is in a serious but stable condition in Auckland Hospital.
     Stubbs, 37, and his rowing partner Rob Hamill shot to fame last year after rowing a seven-metre boat for 41 straight days from the Canary Islands to reach Barbados (3,000 nautical miles), winning a race across the Atlantic. The pair took 32 days off the previous best time set in 1971. Hamill says the Stubbs was an incredible character and one of the toughest guys he had ever met.

Mon Dec 21 06:56 1998
Copyright TVNZ: 1998.

From: "Roger Gould" <rogchris@email.msn.com>
To: <webmaster@oceanrowing.com>
Subject: Phil Stubbs and Rob Hamill
Date sent: Wed, 23 Dec 1998 00:55:29 -0800

At a time like this, it is hard to know what to do, or say. Charlie and I
were both saddened and joyed to have known Phil. We met him on his first day
in Tenerife prior to the race last year. He landed in the Challenge
Business office and immediately answered the phone as it rang. "Challenge
Business, Phil Stubbs. How can I help you"? My wife Christina and I were
both impressed at how professional it sounded. From then on in, we got to
know both Rob and Phil quite well. For his parents point of view, you
already know and are rightly proud of your sons amazing achievments. May
his memory be a long remembered inspiration to those who followed his
progress throughout OUR race.

As for Rob, you must be proud, yet sad, to have been so close to him and
lost him so young. The only thing is that Phil crammed so much into such a
short life. WE shall certainly always cherish the memories we have of such
a brave, young man, setting off to row across the Atlantic and daring to
take the risks he and you did.

Please accept our condolences and perhaps they can be forwarded to Phil's

From your friends in the United Kingdom and especially two fellow Police
Officers, Roger Gould and Charlie Street. You will be in our hearts and
minds for ever. For Phil, another adventure is only just starting! Good

Roger Gould.