C-47 Dakota crash north of Rockhampton in 1943.
C-47 Dakota crash north of Rockhampton in 1943. ozatwar

Six deadly military aircraft crashes in QLD history

SATURDAY'S horrific aircraft crash near Shoalwater Bay which led to the rescue of 23 US Marines and the continues search for three missing is not the first military air tragedy in our region's history.

Since 1943, information gathered from a range of sources including website Oz At War reveals six other deadly military accidents involving aircraft in Queensland.

16-November-1943

27 people were killed when a Dakota C-47 crashed near Rolleston during World War II.

The aircraft, which was of the 21st Troop Carrier Squadron of the 374th Troop Carrier Group left Batchelor airfield in the Northern Territory at 7.30am with 14 Australian soldiers and five US military personnel on board heading for Archerfield airfield in Brisbane, via Gorrie, Daly Waters and Cloncurry.

The aircraft was not able to land at Gorrie because the airfield was out of order, so they landed at Daly Waters where it picked up another passenger - RAAF A/Sgt Pitchford.

They arrived at Cloncurry at 12.45 pm where three more Australian soldiers boarded the aircraft.

The aircraft broke up in mid-air in a violent storm over Rewan Station south of Springsure, about 321km south west of Rockhampton, at 3pm. There were no survivors.

9 December 1943

31 people were killed when a C-47 Dakota of the 22nd Troop Carrier Squadron of the 374th Troop Carrier Group crashed north of Rockhampton near Rossmoya Rd at Canal Creek via Yaamba.

The aircraft took off from Garbutt Airfield in Townsville and was enroute to Archerfield airfield in Brisbane via Rockhampton when it disintegrated in the air.

All persons on board were killed.

14 June 1943

40 US servicemen were killed when USAAF B-17 transport aircraft crashed at Bakers Creek near Mackay.

There was only one survivor in the wreckage of the 46th Troop Carrier Squadron of the 317th Troop Carrier Group, based in Mackay, nick-named Miss Every Morning Fixin, that took off in foggy weather to fly to Port Moresby.

Historic: Mackay: Bakers Creek Crash: 1943: This is the B-17C Flying Fortress which crashed at Bakers Creek on June 14, 1943. It was a converted bomber used to transport American troops to and from New Guinea and Australia for R & R. This photo was taken in March 1942 at Laverton, Victoria.
Photo Contributed
Historic: Mackay: Bakers Creek Crash: 1943: This is the B-17C Flying Fortress which crashed at Bakers Creek on June 14, 1943. It was a converted bomber used to transport American troops to and from New Guinea and Australia for R & R. This photo was taken in March 1942 at Laverton, Victoria. Photo Contributed Robert S Cutler Collection

7 September 1944

20 people killed when Royal Netherlands East Indies Air Force Douglas C-47 Dakota crashed at Mossman in Far North Queenland while en route between Merauke, Dutch East Indies and Cairns.

The crash wreck was not found until many years later in January 1989. It was found by an Australian/New Zealand scientific expedition north west of Mossman.

The remains of the 20 people killed were recovered from the crash scene in July 1989.

9 April 1984

Two people were killed when two RAAF Mirage fighter jets collided in mid-air at Bluff Downs in north Queensland.

The air crafts were conducting a low level mission when the collision occurred.

12 June 1996

18 people were killed when Two Army Blackhawk helicopters collided at Townsville's High Range.

Two helicopters which were among a group of six on a live fire counter-terrorism training exercise collided in the dark.

The accident, which killed 15 SAS troops and three air crewmen, remains the worst peacetime loss of life in the Australian Defence Force.

Wreckage of the Blackhawk helicopter crash, June 13,  1996, 70km north of Townsville.
Wreckage of the Blackhawk helicopter crash, June 13, 1996, 70km north of Townsville. AAP/Defence Department


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