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AIR CRASH, Worst In Australian Civil Aviation Twenty-eight persons lost their lives on Monday night in the worst disaster in Australian civil aviation, when the Australian National Airways Skymaster, Amana, the flagship of the company's fleet, crashed and burnt on a thickly-wooded hillside north-west of York. There was only one survivor of the 24 passengers and crew of five. He is Edgar W. Forwood (67), of Henley Beach, South Australia. He is now under treatment for shock and burns in the Royal Perth Hospital, where late last night his condition was reported to be "quite satisfactory." The machine took off from South Guildford airport at 9.55 p.m., and four minutes later the commander (Capt. R. J. C. Chappell) reported to flight control that he was "on course for Adelaide." Plane Fails To Report Not another word was heard from the Amana. Twenty minutes after the take-off she was lying a tangled, blazing mass on the hillside. It is thought that when the commander signalled back that he was "on.course" he would have been flying at about 2,000ft. Normally the plane would not make further radio contact with Perth until it passed over Cunderdin, which was expected to be about 10.25 o'clock. When it failed to report radio communication was tried, but in vain, from the airport flight control office, and officials there then suggested that the Trans-Australia Airlines (Government) Skymaster, which left Guildford at 10.14 o'clock, should try to speak to the Amana on a very high frequency. The commander of the T.A.A. machine replied that shortly after setting course for Adelaide, he had noticed a big burst of flame as if a fire had suddenly broken out among thick timber along the course the plane would normally have taken. He gave the location as about nine miles north-west of York-a very accurate pin-pointing for a night estimate. "Utter Bewilderment" Aviation authorities estimate that the Amana crashed about 10.15 o'clock, a time confirmed approximately by an eye-witness, Mr. Leonard Bruce McNamara, whose watch showed 10.20 o'clock when he heard the "phut-phut" of engines cutting out, followed by the sound of a crash. The plane came down on an isolated, heavily timbered portion of Mr. Roy Inkpen's 60,000-acre property, Berry Brow, 12 miles in a direct line north-west of York and about four miles, as the crow flies, from the main road. Mr. Geoff Inkpen and Mr. Frank McNamara had to traverse rough, rock-strewn country to reach it. Flames soaring into the air and an eerie white light, closely resembling a magnesium flare, which burnt for hours, led them to a scene of horror and, to use Mr. McNamara's words, "of utter bewilderment that even one man could have escaped." Even at night, with the darkness lit by the flames of the plane and burning trees, the spectacle was stark and grim, but it was not until daybreak that the utter devastation became fully apparent. Swathe Through Trees The Amana had first carried away the tops of tall salmon gum trees and then, as it dropped to earth, it ploughed a swathe through heavy timber, sweeping away big trees--one measuring at least 1ft. through was tossed like a match-stick-for a distance of over 350 yards by about 100ft. wide. As it slithered along the ground, carried by its momentum, portions of the metal body were smashed off, twisted into grotesque shapes and cast aside over a distance of nearly 200 yards from the plane. The fuselage, with most of the victims who must have been killed instantly still in it, came to a halt wrapped around a tall tree with a girth of about 2ft. As it ploughed a deep furrow in the ground petrol from the burst wing-tanks leapt into flames, leaving a blazing trail wherever the wreckage went. (Theories About Crash, Page 3.)