EYE-WITNESSES OF AIR CRASH
Delay Amana inquiry
PERTH, Friday.-Two eye-witnesses of the Amana crash, in which 29 lives were lost on June 26, were unable to attend the Air Court of Inquiry to-day because they were engaged in fighting bushfires around York.
This was stated to-day by Mr. L. D. Seaton, K.C., who, with Mr. B. Simpson, is assisting the Court in the inquiry. One of the witnesses is Mr. Geoffrey Inkpen, owner of Berrybrow farm, on which the crash occurred.
Early in the inquiry to day Mr. Seaton was granted an adjournment until Mon day. He said he had called all the witnesses able to give a prac tical account of what had hap pened, apart from a few who were not able to be present. He said he wished to bring the technical witnesses in chronological order to make a continuous story when the court resumed on Monday. Mr. Seaton said he would call one passenger who trav elled in the Amana from the eastern States to Perth on the last full flight. This passenger would say that the trouble ex perienced on that flight was more considerable than would have been believed from the pilot's report. £500 a day
Mr. G. A. Pape, for Australian National Airways, owners of the Amana, said that in view of the information given by Mr. Seaton, he would have to call, not only the pilot of the plane an the last western journey, but also members of the crew, and perhaps the hostesses, to give evidence of that trip. In granting the adjournment, Mr. Justice Simpson said he would look unfavourably on any further appeals for an adjourn ment. Cost of the inquiry is esti mated at more than £500 a day. An official said to-day that it was expected there would be about 20 more witnesses. Survivor's story Detective-Inspector Blight told the story given to him by Edgar William Forwood, who survived the crash for only a few days. He said Forwood told him that, after they had been in the air for a short period, he felt the plane drop. No warning was given to the passengers to re fasten their safety belts. After he was thrown out he heard groans and screams, but he could not get near the plane because it was on fire. He saw no fire before the plane crashed. Geoffrey Michael Ackland, farmer, said he heard frequent backfiring. He heard the en gine roaring but for brief periods it became smooth again. He saw a red glow from the horizon 'mushroom up.' 'Terrifying' Francis John McNamara said the noise of the engines as the plane passed over his property was terrifying. The engines then seemed to become all right, and he thought the plane was going to land in a paddock nearby then there was a red flash. In reply to Mr. H. A. Win neke (for the Civil Aviation De partment) Ackland said the sounds from the plane were of a heavy banging, as though the machine was starved for petrol. Robin Heath Pritchard, air craft surveyor, said he found numbers three and four engines apparently thrown with con siderable impetus from the star board to the port side. Through trees
Frederick Martin, Civil Avia tion Department, western area airports superintendent, who made a survey of the scene of the crash, said that it ap peared from the marks on the trees that the plane went through them at an angle of 15deg., and that the port wing might have been lower than the starboard. There were indications that one or more airscrews were turning because of the way the first tree had been cut. The inquiry will be resumed at 10 a.m. on Monday.