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Wednesday, 20 March 1957


Mr TOWNLEY - by leave- The House will be aware that a Dakota aircraft from No. 86 Wing, Royal Australian Air Force, Canberra, was lost last evening. The accident resulted in the loss of four lives, the captain, Flying Officer McDonald, of Canberra, the second pilot, Flight Sergeant Charlton, of Queanbeyan, Sergeant Mackerill, of Williamstown, Victoria, and Sergeant Coombe, of Taree. The aircraft was engaged on night take-offs and landings and had been carrying out these exercises for approximately an hour.

The actual cause of the accident will be the subject of the usual service inquiry by the Director of Flying Safety. Only one fact is clearly established at present. That is that the aircraft had an engine failure while climbing away from the airport. The propeller of the port engine was found to be feathered on impact, indicating that the correct procedures had been carried out by the crew. This should have enabled the aircraft to fly quite well on the remaining engine. Some other factors, as yet unknown, must have been present, however, and as a result the aircraft and crew were lost.

On behalf of the Government and, I am sure, all honorable members, I extend to the bereaved relatives a sympathy which is deep and sincere. The men themselves gave their lives while training for the defence of their country and have earned the reverent gratitude of this National Parliament and, indeed, of all the people of Australia.







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