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Frank Morris
Frank Morris. 17 May 2023

Up in the Air: Passengers missing – plane went down!


It was distressing and horrendous at what was found when the plane crashed at the bottom of the mountain.

Australian newspapers and the disappearance of a Stinson airliner in early 1937, gripped the nation.

The plane had been missing for some weeks and was found on Lamington Plateau in the MacPherson Range about 100 kilometres from Brisbane.

A “sudden violent downdraft” was to blame for the crash. 

The aircraft was scheduled for the Brisbane to Sydney trip when it crashed at the foot of the Range. When the Stinson was discovered by the search crew, two of the six passengers were still alive.

The third survivor, who had extricated himself from the wreckage, had fallen over a cliff in his bid to seek help and was found two kilometres from the plane.

                                                           F E A T U R E

Main: The streamline Stinson aircraft on its way to Sydney in 1937.

The map which was published in the Courier-Mail on March 1, 1937, shows the location of the missing aircraft.

The two pilots and two other passengers had been incinerated alive. Bernard O’Reilly, who organised and lead the search party into the mountainous region, said. “I traversed country which was 3000 to 4000 feet high and exceptionally rocky.”

O’Reilly told the Courtier-Mail newspaper, “I scrambled through scrub and vines, and made very slow progress.

“Then, on the side of the gorge, I saw a burnt clearing and the wreckage of the plane. He said the airline had crashed between several trees in dense scrub and caught fire.

<< Frank Morris drew on various subjects – from newspaper stories to The History of Australian Aviation.

The Stinson Story

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