Native deaths feared
IN LAE AREA
TERRIFIC volcanic eruptions have shattered the top of
Mt. Lamington, near Lae (New Guinea), and heavy loss of life among natives is feared.
Messages received yes- terday by the External Affairs Department, Can- berra, report huge explo- sions, which have blanketed the area near the mountain with thick black dust.
Mt. Lamington is between 50 and 60 miles from Lae and 100 miles from Port Moresby by
Hourly radio messages on the continuing eruptions are being flashed by Mr. H. P. Searle, a rubber plantation owner, who lives between 15 and 20 miles from the mountain.
His latest report says the explosions were still hurling rock and dust from the crater. The sky was black with
A rescue vessel, the Huon, is speed- ing from Lae to Killerton, the nearest port to the scene, with medical sup- plies and food.
She is expected to be at the port tomorrow morning. Before this the full extent of the disaster will not be known.
An airline captain flying to Lae today reported: "The volcano was throwing up rock and black dust, which was forming into clouds as far up as 25,000 feet.
"The clouds formed by the dust seemed to be drifting towards Lae and Moresby, and the sky from above those towns was densely black."
An External Territories official said last night that the immediate area around Mt. Lamington was thinly popu- lated, but authorities were rushing food and medicine to Killerton to help any refugees from the explosions.
Chief Judge F. B. Phillips, Deputy Administrator of the Territory, yesterday afternoon left Moresby by air in an effort to reach Popondetta, an airstrip about 15 miles from Mount Lamington.
No message has yet been received
from him, but it is believed that volcanic dust may prevent the aircraft from landing.
Other aircraft will also try to take officials to one of the numerous wartime airfields in the area.