3 DEAD, 4 INJURED
The burnt-out wreckage of the £350,000 Viscount lies in a grazing paddock at Mangalore. This picture was
taken by Argus Cameraman Les Gorrie. See Page 7 for other pictures.
THREE Melbourne pilots were killed when T.A.A.'s
first giant new Vickers Viscount airliner, John Batman crashed and burst into flames after taking off from Mangalore aerodrome yesterday afternoon.
A fourth pilot, three engineers and the 7-year-old son of one of the engineers miraculously escaped death to clamber through the wreckage to safety.
An eye witness said the tail sec- tion broke away, spilling the survivors away from the blazing front section.
CAPTAIN DOUGLAS KEITH MacDONALD,
33, married, captain of the aircraft, of Fiddes st., Moorabbin;
CAPTAIN RAYMOND DOUGLAS FISHER,
33, married, of Aquila st., North
CAPTAIN JOHN NICKELS, 32, married,
of Hayden's rd., Beaumaris.
Captain George MacDougall, 30, Collegian
ave., Strathmore, shock;
John Clifford, 45, engineer, Sherbourne rd.,
Montmorency, head abrasions;
Alfred Harder, 28, engineer, Cowper st.,
Fitzroy, arm injuries;
David Berrie, 34, engineer, Osborne ave.,
Bentleigh, arm and chest injuries.
Mr. Clifford's eight-year-old son, Roger, escaped uninjured. He was taken to hospital with
the others for a check.
The aircraft, which was scheduled to go on the regular passenger route between Melbourne and Sydney on November 15, was practising a take-off with three of its four engines when it
The aircraft took off towards the south-east, and after becoming air- borne circled slowly to- wards the north-west.
Within a minute of take off it crashed near Hughes Creek in the grazing pro- perty of Mr. J. Helms, half a mile north-west of the aerodrome.
Officials believe the star- board wing tip hit the ground first and then the huge plane cart-wheeled.
The plane cut a huge fur- row through the ground and wreckage was scattered over an area of 400 yards.
As the fuel tanks burst the aircraft was enveloped in flames, and the blaze travel- led rapidly back to the point of impact along which fuel and wreckage had been scattered.
Practically the only com- plete part of the aircraft Continued on Page 7.
Q Continued from Page 7. left was the tail assembly, which was upside down near the burned-out fuselage.
Officials said the Viscount, which was valued at £350,000, was a complete
The men killed were on the flight deck of the air- craft. Two were seated, with the third pilot just behind
First on the scene of the crash were two fire carts from Mangalore airfield.
After five hours firemen were still pouring foam ex- tinguisher into the smoul- dering wreckage.
Police at Nagambie heard of the crash at 3.20 and travelled at 65 m.p.h. to get to the scene.
Senior-constable Thomas Wilson, of Nagambie, was the first policeman to arrive. He said the survivors told him
-' they had no idea what hap
pened. They were all badly
They said they were "just up in the air and then they crashed."
At nightfall, police cor- doned off the area and mounted guards on the wreckage.
Soon after tne crash offi- cers of the Civil Aviation Department's air accident and investigation branch went to Mangalore to begin investigations into the cause of the accident.
Their report will he sub- mitted to Mr. Townley, Air Minister, and Sir Richard Williams. Director-General of Civil Aviation.
Mr. Townley said the crash had been "bewildering
in its suddenness."
The emergency procedure the pilots had been carrying out was designed to give them the experience to cope with even the remotest emergency that might occur.