19 Killed In B.C.P.A.
Crash In U.S.A.
From Our Staff Correspondent And A.A.P.
SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 30.-A B.C.P.A. DC6 airliner flying from Sydney to San Francisco crashed into fog-shrouded hills 25 miles south of San Francisco yesterday morning. The 11 passengers and eight crew members were killed instantly.
Seven of the passen-
gers and the eight crew
members were Austra- lians.
Another of the passengers was the American pianist, William Kapell, who was re- turning to the United States after a concert tour of Aus- tralia for the Australian Broadcasting Commission.
Rescue squads had recover- ed 17 of the bodies before darkness last night.
The Australian Minister for Civil Aviation, Mr. H. L. Anthony, said that a Depart- ment of Civil Aviation expert and representatives of B.C.P.A. will fly to San Fran- cisco to assist American auth- orities investigating the acci- dent.
The airliner left Sydney on Wednesday, and stopped at Fiji, Canton Island and Hono-
It was one hour late when approaching San Francisco.
FOG OVER HILLS
The skies were clear, and the airport reported 10-mile visibility, but the coast and the hills near the airport were obscured by fog.
Captain Bruce Dickson re- ported by radio at 8.39 a.m. (San Francisco time) that he was over the coastal village of Half Moon Bay and heading into the airport.
Three minutes later the air-
port control tower reported the airliner on a direct ap- proach to the landing strip and due to touch down in two minutes.
The control tower gave Captain Dickson permission to approach the airport by in-
When the DC6 failed to ap- pear, U.S. Coast Guard and Air Force planes and heli- copters took off to search for it. Air-sea rescue boats pat- rolled the bay and the coast- line, and police in cars and on foot began searching the hills.
At 10.30 a.m. a.plane spot- ted the burning wreckage of the airliner on an 1,800-foot shoulder of King's Mountain, about 16 miles south of the airport. The scattered ruins lay among giant redwood trees and boulders. Burning
petrol from the ruptured tanks had started fires over a half- mile area.
The airliner had failed by 300 feet to clear the top of the mountain.
Officials said that the plane apparently clipped a ridge with a wingtip, shearing off the tops of trees, and bounced off. It tore and burned a swath 600 yards long through the trees and scrub and smashed head on into the side of a deep ravine.
Officials said that all aboard
died instantly The bodies were unrecognisable.
An Air Force helicopter with a doctor aboard landed a quartcr of a mile from the wreckagc and three airmen parachutcd from a plane. They reported no survivors. Air Force planes parachuted container of blood plasma to the scene but the rescue workers had no need for it.
A bulldozer was used to clear a path to the wreckage, and ground parties used
Forest Service climbing equip-
ment to reach the scene.
Two priests were let down by ropes into the ravine to
administer last rites.
Ground parties reaching the area reported that the plane was torn to pieces and that petrol-fed fires were hamper- ing their work. Asbestos-clad rescue squads had recovered only 16 of the bodies several
hours after the crash.
The intense heat melted aluminium sections of the plane.
Hundreds of airmail letters and newspapers, hurled clear of the wreckage, escaped the flames.
One of the rescue workers said: "When we saw the charred wreckage scattered over a mile, we knew that we had fought through fog and fire and jungle in vain. There could be no survivors.
"We had shouted as we approached, hoping to hear an answering call. But there was only the roar of flames, the low drone of helicopters circl- ing over slowly and, beneath, only the silence of death.
"There was hardly a piece of wreckage big enough to identify. But we did spot motors and part of the tail.
"Trees were chopped off as if they had been sliced by a huge knife.
"Parts of the plane were melted into unrecognisable lumps."
The wreckage was found half a mile west of Skyline Boulevard, the main scenic drive over the mountain range from San Francisco to Santa Cruz. News of the crash brought throngs of curious, who tied up traffic on roads approaching the area.
The international office of the U.S. Civil Aeronautics Board sent investigators to the scene, and announced that it will hold a formal hearing to determine the cause of the crash.
0 Relatives' Grief, p. 4.
0 Kapell: Special Article,
p. 2; Tributes, p. 4.