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Last updated: 24 March 2019
Date:Wednesday 24 May 1961
Time:ca 04:35
Type:Silhouette image of generic DC4 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Douglas DC-4-1009
Operator:Trans Australia Airlines - TAA
Registration: VH-TAA
C/n / msn: 43065
First flight: 1946
Total airframe hrs:46006
Engines: 4 Pratt & Whitney R-2000-D5
Crew:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 0
Total:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Aircraft damage: Damaged beyond repair
Location:Bulwer Island, QLD (   Australia)
Phase: Approach (APR)
Departure airport:Sydney-Kingsford Smith International Airport, NSW (SYD/YSSY), Australia
Destination airport:Brisbane-Eagle Farm Airport, QLD, Australia
Trans Australia Airlines flight 1902 departed Melbourne, Australia at 22:54 hours on 23rd May 1961 on a domestic cargo flight to Brisbane. An intermediate stop was planned at Sydney. The DC-4 took off from Sydney at 02:29 hours, May 24.
At 04:25 hours VH-TAA called Brishane tower and reported its position as being 30 miles from Brisbane. At 04:34 they reported the field in sight.
The DC-4 didn't arrive at Brisbane and was later found to have crashed on Bulwer Island in a tidal covered mangrove-covered mud flat.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: "The accident occurred during the pre-landing circuit when the captain tried to leave his seat under the influence of a disordered cardiac function and, in the course of so doing, collapsed across the engine control console in such a way as to bring all four throttle levers to the closed position depriving the first officer of the throttle movement necessary to avoid a crash-landing off the airport."


photo of Douglas DC-4-1009 VH-TAA
photo of Douglas DC-4-1009 VH-TAA
photo of Douglas DC-4-1009 VH-TAA
photo of Douglas DC-4-1009 VH-TAA
photo of Douglas DC-4-1009 VH-TAA
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This map shows the airport of departure and the intended destination of the flight. The line between the airports does not display the exact flight path.
Distance from Sydney-Kingsford Smith International Airport, NSW to Brisbane-Eagle Farm Airport, QLD as the crow flies is 751 km (469 miles).
Accident location: Approximate; accuracy within a few kilometers.

This information is not presented as the Flight Safety Foundation or the Aviation Safety Network’s opinion as to the cause of the accident. It is preliminary and is based on the facts as they are known at this time.
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