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28 Killed In Australia's   Worst Air Disaster:

Survivor Badly Burned

PERTH, Tuesday.— Twenty-eight persons were killed late last night when the A.N.A. Skymaster Amana crashed and burst into flames in heavily timbered country about 46 miles from Perth.

It was Australia's worst air disaster.

There was only one survivor, Mr. Edward W. Forwood, 67, an Adelaide businessman, who suffered burns and shock. Royal Perth Hospital said his condition to-night was "quite satisfactory."

The Amana, flagship of the Australian National Airways fleet, left South Guildford airport at 9.55 p.m. with 24 passengers

and a crew of five.

Four minutes later the com- mander, Captain R. J. C. Chappell, reported to Flight Control that he was "on course" for Adelaide.

Normally the plane would not make further radio contact with Perth until it passed over Cunderdin, which was expected to be about 10.25 p.m.

When it failed to report, radio contact was tried, but in vain, from the airport's flight

control office.

Aviation authorities estimate that the Amana crashed at about 10.15 p.m.

The plane crashed in an iso- lated, heavily timbered portion of Mr. Roy Inkpen's 60,000 acre property, "Berry Brow," 12 miles north-west of York and about four miles from the main road.

DAZED, BLEEDING

First to reach the wrecked plane were Frank McNamara, and Geoff Inkpen, local far-

mers.

They found Mr. Forwood, dazed and bleeding, wandering amid the wreckage, with his body, face and hands badly

burnt.

"Water, please, water," he murmured as the searchers reached him.

They had no water but they took off their coats, dressed his  

wounds with handkerchiefs and made him as comfortable as possible.

They then looked for other survivors but found none.

"It seemed like an eternity sitting there near the blazing wreckage waiting for help,"

said Mr. McNamara.

"Time and time again I called, hopeful that any

searchers might come to our

aid.

"Mr. Forward was too heavy for us to carry so we had to

wait.

"Suddenly the crackling of the blazing aircraft took on a new note. The tanks started to heave and I thought what was left of her was going up. "SCREAMING AWFUL"

"I told the old fellow to keep calm and no sooner had 1 spoken than there was a loud

explosion and flames and sparks shot high in the air.

"We were only 50 yards away and ducked."

Mr. McNamara said Mr. Forwood, who was in severe pain, kept remarkably calm.

"All that I can remember," Mr. Forwood told them, "was that we dropped down quickly. The screaming was awful as the plane hit the trees.

"I thought I was going to die but the next thing that I remember was that I was on fire."

He said he smothered his burning clothes with his bare

hands.

Mr. McNamara said that when help arrived a fresh search was made for survivors.

After morphia had been   administered to Mr. Forwood, the rescue party cut saplings for an improvised stretcher and carried him three miles to an ambulance.

As they neared the ambu- lance, Mr. Forwood mur- mured, "I am very grateful. Thank you very much."

All that remained of the huge four-engined machine was a mass of flaming wreck- age, strewn over hundreds of yards. ;

The Amana had first carried away the tops of tall salmon gum trees and then, as it drop- ped, it ploughed a swathe 350 yards by 100 feet through heavy timber, sweeping away big trees. One measuring at least a foot through was tossed aside like a match stick.

As it slithered along the

ground, portions of the metal   body were smashed off and

twisted into grotesque shapes.   Some were more than 200   yards from the plane.

The fuselage, with most of the victims still in it, was wrapped around a tall two-foot

thick tree.

Petrol from the burst wing tanks had leapt into flames, leaving a blazing trail wherever the wreckage went.

PUZZLING ASPECTS

There is evidence that the commander of the plane lived through the crash and, despite the fact that both his legs were

broken, made an effort to escape from the blazing wreck-

age.

His body was near his seat, with the safety belt undone.

Aspects puzzling those in- quiring into the crash are:

How did Mr. Forwood  

escape from the burning wreckage?

Why did not the plane   make radio contact with Guild- ford when it developed engine

trouble?

Was it attempting to   return to Guildford airport or looking for a cleared field?

Civil Aviation experts began a preliminary inquiry at the scene to-day.

It is believed that the air- liner was on fire just before it

crashed.

A tall white gum which was one of the first to receive a glancing blow from the aircraft before it disintegrated a few hundred yards away, bears

scorches.

From the direction in which the plane was heading when it crashed it is thought that the pilot could have been turning back towards Guildford or making for a cleared field a few miles away.

It was apparently on course yet when it crashed it was not heading east but northwards.

(Names of Dead, P. 3; Fellow-pilot Saw Fire,

P. 3.)  

Digitisation generously supported by
Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation
Digitisation generously supported by

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