SEVEN KILLED IN CIVIL AIR CRASH NEAR LAE
All seven persons on board were killed when a Qantas Drover plane crashed into the sea during heavy rain near Lae to-day.
The killed included two women and two American Roman Catholic priests.
Bodies of one woman and one priest have been recovered. Rescue boats are searching for the other bodies.
List of Killed
Qantas officials in Sydney to-night said those aboard
the crashed aircraft were:— Captain of the aircraft: 1st
Officer John Wm. Spears, Lidcombe, Sydney.
Kenneth Charlie McDonald,
Miss Helen Connor, Yowie
Miss Fancis Tindal, Collah,
Mr. James Palmer, Korrum-
Father Bochas, the Roman
Catholic Mission, Lae.
Bishop Apelhans, the Ro-
man Catholic Mission, Ma- dang.
The officials said that next of kin of the passengers had been notified.
The aircraft was piloted by First Officer John William Spears of Lidcombe, Sydney, who won the D.F.C. while with Bomber
Command in Britain during the
The plane was en route from Wau to Lae when it crashed.
Last message from the aircraft asked about the weather. Lae air traffic control replied, "Weather poor, with steady, mod- erate rain, but aerodrome still open."
First Officer Spears then told the air traffic control tower he was within five minutes flying of
When the Drover failed to come within the aerodrome circuit in the next 10 minutes an immedi- ate air and sea search was made.
A Douglas aircraft found wreckage of the Drover four and a half miles from Lae and three- quarters of a mile from the shore. The Drover was then lying in
54ft. of water.
A crash boat and trawler went
out. Rescuers found the bodies of one of the two women and Dr. Apelhans.
Searchers picked up one wheel and leg torn from the fuselage, and a bag of mail.
The two priests had been to Wau to consecrate a new church there. Dr. Apelhans was Bishop of Madang.
Qantas Empire Airways oper- ated the Drover on its inter- island services. The Drover is a three-engined craft of Austra- lian design.
It was built at the De Havil- land Co's Bankstown factory, and was one of the four ordered by Qantas to replace its old Dragon, biplanes.