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Thursday, 16 May 1957

Mr TOWNLEY (DENISON, TASMANIA) (Minister for Immigration) - I can give' the honorable member some information about this matter, although not in detail. The aircraft was about 600 miles from Darwin when a fire warning was given in respect of No. 4 motor, one of the outside motors. In this type of aircraft, the fire-warning system is a very sensitive electrical circuit with solenoids, relays and so on. Quite often a micro-switch can be faulty and a fire warning can be given although, in fact, there is no fire. Whether that happened in this case, I do not know. However, the fire-warning light came on and the captain of the aircraft, quite rightly, stopped the motor and feathered the propellor. He was able to maintain height quite well on three motors, as can be done in this type of aircraft, and came in to a normal landing at Darwin airport.

I wish to say that the Royal Australian Air Force air-sea rescue service did a magnificent job last night. Their vessels were out to sea within minutes of the emergency being proclaimed. Radarequipped aircraft went out, located the aircraft that was in distress and escorted it all the way into Darwin. I think that was a very fine performance on the part of the R.A.A.F. That is, briefly, the story. The fire-warning light came on, the captain of the aircraft quite correctly feathered the propellor, and the aircraft came in and landed quite safely. I understand that very little had to be done to the aircraft to enable it to continue its flight to Wagga.

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