Date & Time: Aug 13, 1940 at 1015 LT
Type of aircraft:
Lockheed L-414 Hudson
Operator:
Registration:
A16-97
Flight Type:
Government
Survivors:
No
Schedule:
Melbourne – Canberra
MSN:
1951
YOM:
1940
Country:
Australia
Region:
Oceania
Crew on board:
4
Crew fatalities:
4
Pax on board:
6
Pax fatalities:
6
Other fatalities:
0
Total fatalities:
10
Circumstances:
The aircraft was performing a flight from Melbourne-Moorabbin to Canberra on behalf of the Australian Government, carrying three Ministers and their staff. On final approach to Canberra in ideal weather conditions, the twin engine aircraft stalled and crashed in a huge explosion some 2 km short of runway. Emergency teams were promptly at the scene but nothing could be done to save the ten occupants.
Crew:
F/L Robert Edward Hitchcock,
P/O Richard Frederick Wiesener,
Cpl John Frederick Palmer,
AC1 Charles Joseph Crosdale.
Passengers:
Brigadier Geoffrey Austin Street, Minister for the Army and Repatriation,
James Valentine Fairbairn, Minister for Air and Civil Aviation,
Sir Henry Somer Gullett, Vice-President of the Executive Council and Minister in charge of Scientific and Industrial Research,
General Sir Cyril Brudenell Bingham White, Chief of the General Staff,
Lieutenant Colonel Francis Thornthwaite, Staff Officer to General White,
Richard Edwin Elford, Fairbairn's private secretary.
Probable cause:
The exact cause of the accident was not determined with certainty. Nevertheless, the Board of Inquiry found that it was most likely due to the aircraft stalling on approach, resulting in loss of control at a height that was insufficient for recovery.