Landing on a Reef: A Case Study - TIGHAR

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1 citation

'PLANE DAMAGED BY SEA Croydon Monospar Abandoned SYDNEY, Thursday.

19 November 1936, Barrier Miner (Broken Hill, NSW : 1888 - 1954), page 5

…a subsequent take-off from the reef even seemed a possibility. When the pilot elected to taxi to a higher dry area of the reef, the aircraft tail wheel fork fractured from the rough surface and dropped the tail to the ground. The neap tide was now at low water, but it was rising rapidly. (That day the tide would rise to three feet; in a few weeks it would rise to 14 feet, enough to submerge the aircraft, and during the spring tide, it would reach 20 feet, with heavy swells from the northwest monsoon possibly breaking up the aircraft.) [4] The crew’s first action after landing was to run out the trailing wire antenna supported by two collapsible boat oars. Wireless communication was attempted and though they heard both Darwin and Surabaya, contact with neither could be made. The port engine with a generator was started in order to recharge the batteries run low by the radios. After two hours, it was realized that contact was not possible. Personal gear and four day’s rations and water were loaded into their collapsible boat. Rescue Proposed route from Darwin to Koepang, and the actual track of the Monospar Croydon after navigating with…

2 citations

MONOSPAR CROYDON Crew's Trying Ordeal NOW SAFE ON STEAMER

13 October 1936, Townsville Daily Bulletin (Qld. : 1885 - 1954), page 7

…the radios. After two hours, it was realized that contact was not possible. Personal gear and four day’s rations and water were loaded into their collapsible boat. Rescue Proposed route from Darwin to Koepang, and the actual track of the Monospar Croydon after navigating with a faulty compass and erroneous night time DF bearings from Darwin. The aircraft landed on Seringapatam Reef 267 miles south of its intended destination. The Maylayan fishing smack fished at Seringapatam Reef only once or twice a year. The boat St. Gambor Boelon , from Boeton in the Celebes, was now fishing in Seringapatam’s lagoon. [5] It was about a mile away from the west side of the reef where the Monospar Croydon landed. After the aircrew got their attention, the boat stood off to await them while they waded and pushed the collapsible boat with their possessions through deep rocky pools “infested with giant clams and occasional small sharks”. [6] Arriving at the boat they found communicating with the fishermen extremely difficult. The only word the fishermen recognized was “Koepang”. It took five hours to convince them to take the aircrew aboard the boat, and then interrupt their fishing to transport them to Koepang. After…

…of binoculars. It was a long 55 hours on the cramped, malodorous boat with rotting fish, surviving on short rations when they spotted the SS Nimoda , a British cargo steamer 100 miles from Seringapatam Reef. Captain Sadlier, Master of the Nimoda , brought his vessel closer and asked if he could be of service. “And how!” was the response. With the Croydon’s crew transferred aboard the Nimoda bound for Durban, the “exhausted, unshaven, hungry men” gave their first thoughts “to get out radio messages to their wives and next to notify their company of the plight of their machine”. [7] Australian authorities, having learned of the overdue Croydon, dispatched a patrol launch to search an area 70 miles from Koepang, the presumed position of the aircraft when contact was lost. Shipping was advised to be on watch, and the Dutch sent two flying boats to the area to begin searching. A message from the Nimoda was dispatched to authorities stating that they had picked up the aircrew from a fishing boat that had rescued them near Seringapatam Reef. On the Nimoda , the aircrew learned that they had ended up 267 miles south of their destination, and that both their…

1 citation

MONOSPAR CROYDON. COMMITTEE'S REPORT. On Direction Finder. MONOSPAR CROYDON. MELBOURNE, December 18.

17 December 1936, Townsville Daily Bulletin (Qld. : 1885 - 1954), page 6

…was “guilty of negligence on the ground that the machine’s compass had shown a ten degree error on the flight to Australia, but no action was taken to correct it; that the personnel of the Direction Finding Station at Darwin, knowing the limitations of the Bellini-Tose system should not have consented to give bearings during hours of darkness; that the pilot of the plane, who was a qualified navigator and wireless operator, should have been well acquainted with the direction finding instructions relating to sunrise, sunset and night effects, and should not have relied on the signals for his direction.” [8] POST SCRIPT The month following the fishing crew’s return to Kaladupa, the Captain of the fishing boat received a letter advising him to go to Bau Bau to receive a reward for the rescue of the crew of the Monospar Croydon. A young member of the boat’s crew later stated for the record: “In the contents of the letter it was written 3000 ringgit. But they only received 300 ringgit because the amount had been reduced because of all the offices the letter had passed through, from Java to Makassar and to Bau Bau.” The Captain of the fishing boat…