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SEVEN DEAD IN W.A.
AIR CRASH Plane Destroyed Near Kalgoorlie All seven occupants of a Dove aircraft were killed yesterday afternoon when the machine crashed and was destroyed by fire at Kurrawang Lake, about 16 miles west of Kalgoorlie. The aircraft, which belonged to Airlines (W.A.) Ltd., was on a scheduled flight from Perth to Kalgoorlie. It had reported by radio when it was seven minutes' flying time from its destination. Apparently the plane crashed a few minutes after sending out its last message, without having made any further radio contact. Its discovery was reported about six hours later. An intense search for the plane by air and ground parties was begun immediately the plane was reported overdue. A wide area was covered before the smouldering wreckage was found last night.
The plane wreckage was found by Mr. James Donohue, and friend two of hundred volunteers who had been searching for the aircraft for several hours. The plane took off from the Guildford airport at 1.35 p.m., carrying a woman and four men passengers and with a pilot and radio operator-hostess as crew. Radio Reports The aircraft reported that it was over Boorabbin, an aeradio checking-point about 270 air miles from Perth, at 3.5 p.m. The next message was receiv ed from the machine about 3.20 p.m., when the pilot said that he was seven minutes' fly ing time out of Kalgoorlie. Emergency procedure was put into operation by the Western Region of the Department of Civil Aviation as soon as the aircraft was reported overdue at Kalgoorlie. Two Mustang aircraft of the search and rescue organisation took off from the R.A.A.F. sta tion, Pearce, at 4.45 p.m. and arrived in the area about 6 p.m. The department's DC3 plane at Kalgoorlie was airborne within an hour of receipt of the last message from the missing machine, and it was closely fol- lowed by an Anson flown by Mr. George Lewis, a Kalgoor- lie charter operator. Search By Air Air traffic control officers at Guildford made phone calls to points along the route of the aircraft in an endeavour to trace its progress, and messages were broadcast asking any per son who could help with in formation to get in touch with the police or the department. For several hours the two Kalgoorlie planes and the R.A.A.F. Mustangs searched an area 50 miles long and 30 miles wide, west of Kalgoorlie. One of the twin-engine planes continued the search last night. The plane that crashed, VH- AQO, was one of three De Havilland Dove aircraft op- erated by the airline. It had a cruising speed of 180 m.p.h., a range of about 800 miles with full tanks, and a flight duration of five hours. It normally carried about 120 gallons of petrol and its all-up weight was 8,500lb., with a payload of 1,800lb. The aircraft had excellent one-engine performance. It was painted silver with a white top. Airlines (W.A.) Ltd is the only airline in Australia which uses Dove machines. The Country The country in which the crash occurred was described last night as being fairly flat, with areas of light timber and isolated claypans. The earth has subsided in many places, leaving a number of shallow ravines. There are groups of salt lakes in the area. The aircraft would have ex- perienced good flying weather in the Coolgardie area, a wea ther officer at Guildford airport. said last night.
The Casualty List The following were killed in the crash. Crew CAPT. C. M. HOOD, of 130 Carr-street, West Perth (pilot). MISS DOROTHY REILLY, of 24 Ow- ston-street, Mosman Park (hostess). Passengers MISS G. CURNOW, of Forrest House, St. George's-ter., Perth. MR. F. BUTLER, of the R.S.L. Hostel, Murray street, Perth. MR. H. C. HICKS, of Kalgoorlie. MR. J. E. QUELCH, c/o. G. and R. Wills Ltd. MR. M. McCARTHY, of the Australian Meat Board. Capt. Hood was an experi enced pilot with many hours' flying time. He was well ac quainted with the route. Miss Reilly was well-known in sporting circles and was a member of the State women's hockey team on a number of occasions. Miss Curnow was a nurse at the Royal Perth Hospital. Mr. Hicks was a prominent citizen of Kalgoorlie. He was head of J. A. Hicks and Co., retail drapers and storekeepers, of Kalgoorlie. He had been interested in goldmining for many years and was one of those principally responsible for the development of the Spargo's Reward mine. Recent Arrival Mr. Butler, it is believed, had only recently migrated to Aus tralia from England. Mr. Quelch, who was about 48 years of age and lived at Cottesloe, was the manager of the manchester department of G. and R. Wills and Co. Ltd. He had been with the firm for about 27 years and was a well known figure in Perth business circles. Mr. McCarthy, who was from Melbourne, had been in Perth for meetings of the Australian Meat Board last week. He was publicity officer for the board and had been associated with the board since its inception in 1936. Last Thursday members of the board began a tour of the South-West: Mr. McCarthy had returned from the tour on Sun day and was flying to Kal goorlie to spend a day there before returning to the East- ern States.