Water In Petrol "Might
Tragic Crash Of Amana
PERTH, Tuesday.—Water in the fuel tanks would be suggested as a possible cause of the crash of the A.N.A. flagship Amana, Mr. L. D. Seaton, K.C. (for the Commonwealth Crown Solicitor), said at the inquiry into the crash, which opened to-day.
The Amana, with 29 persons on board, crashed near York on June 26. Twenty-eight were killed instantly, and the sur- vivor died some days later in hospital.
About 50 witnesses will be called to give evidence before Mr. Justice William B. Simpson, of the Canberra Supreme Court, who is being assisted by two assessors, Mr. D. B. Hudson, a Qantas Empire Airways aero- nautical engineer, and Capt. J. W. Bennett, a British Common- wealth Pacific Airlines pilot.
Mr. Seaton said evidence would be called to suggest that water in the fuel caused engine failure.
The engines and fuel were examined when the aircraft left Sydney. At Melbourne, Para- field, and Guildford, Perth, there was refuelling, but no check of the weatherheads was made to see whether there was any foreign body in the petrol.
On the trip from Adelaide the pilot reported some roughness in one engine, but that roughness disappeared before Guildford was
The last message received after
the plane left Guildford was that it was climbing to 9000ft.
Civilian witnesses who lived at various points on the route would give evidence of the bad functioning of the plane and of having heard it backfiring.
Mr. Seaton said a statement made by the passenger who sur- vived the crash for a few days did not cast much light on the crash, but it would discount a theory that the plane caught fire before it crashed.
Technical witnesses would be called to show that No. 4 engine was not functioning at the time of the impact, and that there was some corrosion in the engine, caused by water in the fuel.
"SHORT OF TIME"
The opening witness, Lindsay Gordon Reading, a foreman en- gineer of A.N.A. at Guildford, said he superintended the turn- round of the Amana, which was due to depart for the eastern States at 9.45 p.m. on June 26.
He inspected the pilot's trip report, which explained that there
had been a slight roughness in one motor between Parafield and Rawlinna.
The Amana was refuelled by a Vacuum Oil tanker. The weatherheads of the two auxili- ary tanks were drained, and no
water was found.
They were short of time, and the departure would have been delayed if the weatherheads of all six tanks had been drained.
It was the usual routine of the company to have all weather-
If water had been in the petrol it should have been noticed by the time the plane reached 500ft.
William George Usher, who gave the passengers their seat checks, said he did not know that 8,500ft of cinematograph film was being loaded on board. Restrictions were in force on the transport of film in excess of 3,000ft.
Romney Edward Moran, senior area controller of the De- partment of Civil Aviation, said that Captain Chappell, of the Amana, estimated on his flight plan that he would go to Kal- goorlie at 9,000 feet, attaining that height 60 miles from Perth.
Gordon Santo Crimp, a senior area controller at Guildford, said the last aeradio call he heard from the Amana was: "Able Nan Able: On course and flying to 9,000 feet."