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3 corrections, most recently by john.f.hall - Show corrections

PLANE, MISSING 15 MONTHS

CRASHED ON PEAK EAST, WEE JASPER

Pilot And Passenger

Were Killed

The wreckage of the aircraft found on Thurs- day on a mountain side eight miles east of Wee Jasper, in the vicinity of Sugarloaf Creek, was identified as that of the Percival Q6 plane which disappeared in August of last year on a flight from Sydney to Geelong.      

Skeletons of the two occu-   pants, Mr. Jack Meehan of Gee-

long, and Mr. Wallace Stillard, of  

Cobram, Vic, were recovered amongst the wreckage by a search party yesterday.  

The remains of Mr. Meehan were identified by initials on a sleeve link in a piece of tattered shirt cuff adhering to his arm.

The aircraft had flown into the mountain on a rising angle, and after the wings had been torn off by trees, the fuselage had plough- ed up the mountainside for 150 feet before bursting into flames.

Wreckage was strewn over a wide area, and had been burnt in a fierce fire. The engines were found 20 yards away.

Police believe that both occu- pants of the plane were killed in- stantly by the impact of the

crash.

A case of clothing belonging    

to Mr. Stillard had been thrown clear of the flames and was found

intact.

The wreckage was found on the direct air route between Mel-

bourne and Sydney, but was in  

thick timber and undergrowth, whlch would have hidden it from  

searching aircraft.     Searchers found the numbers, 109, on the engines. These were the numbers of the missing per-

cival.

Canberra, and Yass police, led by Captain Sharpe, of the Royal Military College, who found the wreckage while on army exer- cise, reached the scene of the crash after forcing their way on it through more than two miles heavily timbered country.

They found the wreckage about     300 yards from the top of a mountain in what is known as  

the Doctor's Flat area, about 30  

miles south-west of Yass.

The plane was apparently carrying a consignment of air- craft clocks, which were found strewn amongst the wreckage. Many of the clocks when wound up by police yesterday func-

tioned.  

A number of books and papers, which added to the certainty of identification, were also found to have been thrown clear of the

flames.

The remains of the victims were taken to the Yass police station by the Yass Coroner (Mr. E. Hickey), who accompanied the search party.

The plane, a low-winged mono-   plane Percival Q6 aircraft, was owned originally by Mr. Stillard, and was purchased by Mr. Meehan from him in August,

1947.  

On August 26 Mr. Meehan, who conducts a private air company at Geelong, set off in the aircraft with Mr. Stillard as a passenger.

Nothing was heard of the plane

after it took off.

Mr. Ross Meehan, a brother of Mr. Jack Meehan, spent several thousands of pounds continuing   an unsuccessful air search for the missing craft after the Civil Aviation and R.A.A.F. search was

ended.  

A member of the Air Acci- dents Committee (Mr. J. Scho- field ) arrived in Canberra yester- day morning, and left for the    

scene of the crash shortly before

midday.

No Money Or Watches Found

A puzzling feature of the dis- covery of the skeletons was the fact that neither money nor wat- ches could be found despite an intense search of the vicinity.      

The course-line on the planes compass was set for an east-west    

course, and a line of smashed trees, near the scene of the crash, indicated it was flying due west when, it plunged into the moun-

tain side.      

Mr. J. B. Schofield took posses- sion of the plane's compass and altimeter. The latter had jam- med at 2,700 feet. The mountain into which the plane crashed is   3,800 feet high.

The skeleton of the pilot was found near the burnt-out wreck- age of one engine. One foot in a suede-shoe, with some flesh still adhering to it, was several feet away.                

Stillard's skeleton was lying 10 yards down the steep slope. The skeletons are not complete and police believe that foxes disturb- ed the bodies.            

In a suitcase in the wreckage, a will, signed by Stillard, but not

witnessed was found. In it he left all his personal estate to his two brothers. The will was dated June 14, 1947.

The Yass Coroner (Mr. Hickey)   said he was satisfied as to Stil-

lards identity, but was unable to find anything positively iden- tifying Meehan.

An emergency landing strip is   located at Narrangullen, eight miles north of the crash and, as it was raining and visibility was poor at the time of the accident it is thought the pilot may have been circling in an endeavour to locate the strip.

Captain Sharpe told the police   yesterday that the discovery was made purely by accident.

A party of R.M.C. cadets was   chopping its way through thick undergrowth when Serg.Major   Burgess a former parachutist, kicked against a piece of ply-

wood about three inches long.

Puzzled how it could be in un- explored country Captain Sharpe   deployed his party over a wide area and suddenly came on the wreckage.

Private air searches carried out up till January for the mis- sing aircraft were terminated when the searching planes were within only five minutes flying time of where the Duntroon cad- ets found the ill-fated plane.

This was revealed yesterday by Mr. Ross Meehan, who flew a Private W.A.C.C.O. four-seater         aircraft to Canberra to go to   the scene of the crash.

On arrival in Canberra he said he would probably try to land his own aircraft on a clear patch south of Mt. Brindabella where

the Percival Q6 was found.

Mr. Meehan said that appar- ently the aircraft was found ly- ing on a mountain on the direct air route between Sydney and

Melbourne.

Scores of planes, he said, must have passed over it in the last year, but had failed to see it, be- cause of the thick timber in which it was lying.

Mr. Meehan is Assistant Traf-   fic Superintendent of Trans-Aus-

tralia Airlines.

Detective-Sergeant-B. Catt, of Goulburn, and Sergeant M. Mor- rissey, of Yass, are conducting

inquiries.

The remains of the victims were taken to Yass last night.

As the party searched the   wreckage a Sydney-bound Doug- las flew directly overhead.

Mr. Meehan flew over the area for some time yesterday, but did not see the plane.  

It is believed the plane crashed   into the ridge while flying low to maintain visibility in bad wea-

ther.

The position of the propellers indicated the plane hit under full

power.

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