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THREE MEN MISSING EN

AEROPLANE

Days Overdue in Desert

GRAVE FEARS FOR SAFETY

No News from Searching Machines

A Royal Australian Air Force machine, with three men on board, left Camooweal (Q.) early on Monday morning on its way to Hall's Creek (W.A.), and has not

been seen or heard of since.

Grave fear» are entertained for the safety of the pilot

(Flight-Lieutenant W. L. Hely), previously of Point Cooke, _ and of Leading-Aircraftsmen Walkington and Sherwood, of Richmond (N.S.W.). The men are now three days

overdue.

Another Air Force machine has been despatched f i ora Charleville (Q.) to search in Northern Australia, and West Austra- lian Airways and Qontas Imperial Air- ways have been asked to co-operate. So far, however, nothing has been reported, but It is understood that the missing machine carries rations and water suffi- cient to last the crew for six or seven

days.

The secretary to the Air Boord (Major P. E coleman) received a message last night from a pilot of West Australian Atr vvnys stating that he had found no trace of the Air Force machine between New- castle Waters and Wave Hill, where, it is thought, Pllght-Lieutcnant Hely might have made a forced landing. Major Cole- man late last night had not hoard from the relief aeroplane, which left Charlr vllle yesterday morning, piloted by FUght Llcutcnant A. G. Carr, and which was ex- pected to reach Newcastle Waters last evening or this morning.

The missing machine, a DH89 Dingon Rapido, Is not equipped with wireless, but is carrying full desert supplies and equip- ment. The pilot and ah craftomen were making for Port Hedland, on the north- west coast of Western Australia, to carry out aerial survey work In conjunction with the North Australia Suivcy Commit- tee Their machine was heavily loaded with photographic supplies and other equipment. v

Fiom its base at Richmond (NSW) the Dragon-Ropldc flew to Camooweal, the stai ting-point for the long flight across Central Australia. Fllght-Lleiitenant Hely left Camooweal at 8 a ni. on Monday, in- tending to fly to Hall's Creek (W.A.) by way of Newcastle Waters nnd Wave Hill, a distance of approximately 800 miles As the machine lias a ilying íango of only 500 miles, a landing at either Newcastle Wnteri, or Wave Hill was necessary for refuelling. ïn either coso the party was due at Hall's Crock on Tuesday.

The Dragon-Raplde, however, lias not

appeared at cither station, and Its where-1

abouts are a complete mystery. Fllght Lleutenant Hely'might have been forced down between Camooweal and Newcastle Waters, or, with a following wind, he may have tried to go right on to Wave Hill without stopping. Thus his machine may be anywhere in the great tract of desert country stretching three-quarters of the way across North Australia.

The relief aeroplane, a Gannett twin engined machine, in charge of Flight Lieutenant Carr, left Laverton on Satur- day to resume the aerial geophysical sur- vey of North Australia. Its base was to be at Cloncurry (Q.). Tho Gannett has also two mechanics aboard, in addition to the pilot, and Is also fully equipped for

desert flying.

The Dragon-Rapide has a cruising speed of 130 miles an hour, and a maximum speed, at 1,000ft., of 160 miles an hour. A biplane type, it has an enclosed pilot cabin in the nose. Maximum weight is 5,2001b.

Flight-Lieutenant Hely was recently posted to No. 3 Squadron, R.A.A.F., from the training school at Point Cooke. He Is R single man, aged 25 years, and is consid- ered a most efficient pilot Aircraftsman Walkington, of Richmond, is a married man. He has been stationed at Richmond for six years. Aircraftsman Sherwood, also a married man, has been stationed at Richmond for three years, When one of the fitters on the Southampton flying boat, which was engaged on coastal sur- vey work at Normanton (Q.) in November, became ill, Sherwood was sent to replace him. He remained on the flying-boat until a survey of a proposed route for sea- planes between Darwin and Brisbane was completed.

One of the Dragon Rapide machines similar to that missing lu North

Austt alia.

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